Toward a History of Economics at MIT, 1940-1972
History of Political Economy, supplement to Volume 46, 2014, Forthcoming
22 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2015
Date Written: October 1, 2013
This paper tells the development of economics at MIT between 1940 and 1972. The recruitment of Samuelson in 1940 fostered the establishment of a small community of economists within an engineering institute which was itself undergoing major transformations. A “new economics” was then shaped during the fifties, one influenced by the demands of engineers, scientists and business students, and somewhat eclipsed by the promising interdisciplinary research programs emerging in the newly founded Center for International Studies. During the sixties, MIT economists instantiated the vision of Samuelson and Solow, worked to make their graduate program the most appealing of the country, and gained wide public visibility as policy-oriented scientists. Yet, beginning in the mid sixties, MIT's apparently flourishing community was increasingly challenged, internally and externally. By the early seventies, the reforms implemented in reaction to these challenges had led to a normalization/standardization of its programs.
Keywords: MIT, Department of Economics, Sloan, Center for International Studies, Solow, Samuelson, Diamond
JEL Classification: B00, B20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation