Introduction: Telling the story of mit economics in the postwar period
© 2015 by Duke University Press. Over the past twenty-five years the Duke history of economics faculty, together with the collection development librarians in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, have been gathering the papers of notable (mostly) twentieth-century economists in what is now called the Economists’ Papers Project (EPP). Over time that archive has grown and become central to historical research on economics in the postwar period. The papers of Edwin Burmeister, Evsey Domar, Franklin Fisher, Duncan Foley, Lawrence Klein, Franco Modigliani, and Robert Solow, all MIT faculty or students, have attracted scholars from around the world. After Paul Samuelson’s death in December 2009, his papers were deposited in the EPP and quickly became a magnet for historians of economics. In response, I invited a select group of scholars to consider a variety of projects exploring MIT’s role in the transformation of American economics in the postwar period. A conference was held April 26-28, 2013, at Duke University, sponsored by Duke University Press and with generous financial support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. In the end the conferees learned that telling the story of MIT’s role in the postwar period required attending to both the particular circumstances that shaped MIT and the various ways in which economics itself was changing.
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