NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Economic History or History of Economics? A Review Essay on Sylvia Nasar's Grand Pursuit: the Story of Economic Genius

Orley C. Ashenfelter

NBER Working Paper No. 17607
Issued in November 2011
NBER Program(s):   EFG   LS

In this essay I review Sylvia Nasar’s long awaited new history of economics, Grand Pursuit. I describe how the book is really an economic history of the period from 1850-1950, with distinguished economists’ stories inserted in appropriate places. Nasar’s goal is to show how economists work, but also to show that they are people too--with more than enough warts and foibles to show they are human! I contrast the general view of the role of economics in Grand Pursuit with Robert Heilbroner’s remarkably different conception in The Worldly Philosophers. I also discuss more generally the question of why economists might be interested in their history at all.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Information about Free Papers

You should expect a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

Acknowledgments

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w17607

Published: “Economic history or history of economics?” Review of Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius, Center for Economic Policy Studies, Working Papers: 1365. Journal of Economic Literature, March 2012, 50(1), 96-102.

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Attanasio, Battistin, and Ichimura w10338 What Really Happened to Consumption Inequality in the US?
Kutsoati and Morck w18080 Family Ties, Inheritance Rights, and Successful Poverty Alleviation: Evidence from Ghana
Attanasio, Battistin, and Ichimura What Really Happened to Consumption Inequality in the United States?
Bolton and Oehmke w17599 Should Derivatives be Privileged in Bankruptcy?
Irwin w17597 Anticipating the Great Depression? Gustav Cassel’s Analysis of the Interwar Gold Standard
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us