The Elgar Companion to the Chicago School of Economics
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The Elgar Companion to the Chicago School of Economics

Edited by Ross B. Emmett

Many know the Chicago School of Economics and its association with Milton Friedman, George Stigler, Ronald Coase and Gary Becker. But few know the School’s history and the full scope of its scholarship. In this Companion, leading scholars examine its history and key figures, as well as provide surveys of the School’s contributions to central aspects of economics, including: price theory, monetary theory, labor and economic history. The volume examines the School’s traditions of applied welfare theory and law and economics while providing a glimpse into emerging research on Chicago’s role in the development of neoliberalism.
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Chapter 16: Theodore William Schultz

Pedro Nuno Teixeira


Pedro Nuno Teixeira T.W. Schultz’s life (1902–98) spanned the twentieth century, and his career as economist not only reflected many of the changes that economics underwent during the period, but also contributed in no small amount to those transformations (Bowman 1980, Nerlove 1999, Gardner 2006).1 Schultz used to blame several events that occurred during his youth for driving him towards economics, not least the difficulties faced by farmers during the first decades of the twentieth century, which instilled in him an enduring concern with the improvement of the productive and welfare conditions of agriculture. Those hard times made him interrupt his secondary education to start working fulltime. He returned to formal education late in his teens (1921), entering a short course in agriculture at the South Dakota State College. Three years later he decided to continue his studies on agricultural economics at that institution and obtained a BA in 1927 and an MS in 1928. In 1928 he was accepted to undertake graduate studies in agricultural economics at the University of Wisconsin, where he was taught by some of the leading figures of institutionalism at the time, notably John R. Commons. Although this period nurtured in Schultz a deep respect for Commons and his work, as time went by he became increasingly critical of institutionalism as a general economic approach and aligned himself with neoclassical economics. After finishing his PhD at Wisconsin in 1930, he was hired at Iowa State College (now University), where he was asked five...

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