Did the Chicago School Reject Frank Knight? Assessing Frank Knight's Place in the Chicago Economics Tradition

FRANK KNIGHT AND THE CHICAGO SCHOOL IN AMERICAN ECONOMICS, pp. 145-55, London: Routledge, 2009

12 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2007 Last revised: 27 Dec 2016

See all articles by Ross B. Emmett

Ross B. Emmett

Arizona State University (ASU) - Center for the Study of Economic Liberty; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

Two stories currently circulate regarding Frank Knight's relationship to the Chicago School of Economics. The first is a story of tradition, emphasizing the continuity of Chicago economics; the other emphasizes the new beginnings in the post-war period. The second story even implies that the Chicago approach rejected Knight's views. In order to assess these stories, the paper examines the grounds on which Knight's relationship with the Chicago School can be evaluated. The conclusion is that the Chicago School can be said to owe everything, and nothing, to Knight. Without his initiation of teaching price theory and persistence in defending it, there would be no Chicago tradition. Yet the methodological approach and research infrastructure which propelled the Chicago School to a central position in the economics profession owe little or nothing to him. In fact, the two central methodological principles of Chicago economics - Friedman's principle of positive economics, and the Stigler/Becker de gustibus principle - combine to deny the pluralism Knight advocated for social science in a liberal democracy.

Keywords: Frank H. Knight, Chicago School of Economics

JEL Classification: B20, B21, B31

Suggested Citation

Emmett, Ross B., Did the Chicago School Reject Frank Knight? Assessing Frank Knight's Place in the Chicago Economics Tradition (2009). FRANK KNIGHT AND THE CHICAGO SCHOOL IN AMERICAN ECONOMICS, pp. 145-55, London: Routledge, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=979261

Ross B. Emmett (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) - Center for the Study of Economic Liberty ( email )

CPCOMM 4th Floor
United States

PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

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Bozeman, MT 59718
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