Reflections of Eminent Economists

Reflections of Eminent Economists

Edited by Michael Szenberg and Lall Ramrattan

In this collection of autobiographical essays, 26 prominent scholars detail their professional development, while offering insight into their lives and philosophies. With candor and humor they relate how they came to the field of economics, as well as how their views have evolved over the years.

Preface and acknowledgements

Edited by Michael Szenberg and Lall Ramrattan

Subjects: economics and finance, economic psychology, history of economic thought

Extract

The purpose of this volume is to relate positive and negative autobiographical phenomena as perceived with reflections by eminent economists. Thus, this book is intended for those individuals who are fascinated by scholars’ lives, personalities and morals. The collection of essays in this volume offers us details about wise and accomplished lives. The essays contain elements characteristic of great literature – pathos and wit, pain and humor. Examining the essayists’ reflections here affords us the opportunity to explore the question of what makes distinctive and exciting scholarship, as well as probe the criteria for excellence. Further, as a reviewer of a recent book notes, ‘autobiography is a source for understanding the social history of a discipline.’l We are grateful for the help of a number of individuals in the preparation of this volume. We are especially indebted to Kenneth Arrow, who penned the Foreword, and to the contributors of this collection. We thank them for their congenial partnership. I feel an immeasurable debt of gratitude towards Victor R. Fuchs, a participant in this book. It was only his readiness to meet with me in the New York offices of the National Bureau of Economic Research and to overrule my disseration ‘sponsor’ (who found excuses to delay reading my chapters for six to eight months) that made it possible for me to move ahead. The words of the ‘sponsor’ still ring in my head: ‘If Victor Fuchs says it is good then go ahead.’ I know that my life would have been...