MIT's Rise to Prominence: Outline of a Collective Biography

A revised version of this paper was published in the History of Political Economy (2014) 46(suppl 1): 109-133; doi:10.1215/00182702-2716136

Center for the History of Political Economy Working Paper No. 2013-19

28 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2014 Last revised: 30 Mar 2015

See all articles by Andrej Svorenčík

Andrej Svorenčík

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 14, 2014

Abstract

The core question of the MIT economics department’s history — why has MIT economics risen to prominence so quickly? — requires an approach to the history of economics that focuses on the role of the networks within which economists operate and how their ideas diffuse and gain scientific credit. By reconstructing the network of MIT economics PhDs and their advisers, this article furnishes evidence of how MIT rose to prominence as documented by the numerous ties of Nobel laureates, Clark medalists, elected officials of the American Economic Association or the Council of Economic Advisers to the MIT network. It also reveals the MIT economics department as a community of self-replicating economists who are largely trained by a few key advisers who were mostly trained at MIT as well. MIT has a disproportionate share of graduates who remain in American academe, which may be an important factor in MIT’s rise to prominence. On a methodological level this article introduces collective biography, or prosopography, a well-established historiographical method, to the field of the history of economics.

Keywords: MIT, networks of economists, advisor-advisee relations, prosopography

JEL Classification: B20, B30, J44, J62

Suggested Citation

Svorenčík, Andrej, MIT's Rise to Prominence: Outline of a Collective Biography (January 14, 2014). A revised version of this paper was published in the History of Political Economy (2014) 46(suppl 1): 109-133; doi:10.1215/00182702-2716136; Center for the History of Political Economy Working Paper No. 2013-19 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2373231 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2373231

Andrej Svorenčík (Contact Author)

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics ( email )

D-68131 Mannheim
Germany

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
637
rank
37,668
Abstract Views
3,174
PlumX