Essays in the Tradition of Jane D'Arista
Edited by Gerald A. Epstein, Tom Schlesinger and Matías Vernengo
Chapter 1: Jane D’Arista: an appreciation
The papers in this book were originally presented at a conference in honor to Jane D’Arista in the spring of 2008 at the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Throughout her career as an author, analyst, congressional staff economist and teacher, Ms. D’Arista has brought together several strands of heterodox economics. While she may be characterized accurately as one of the last great institutionalists, her work also defies easy classification. Perhaps the clearest way to view Jane is as a tough-minded empiricist who has produced critical, original insights into the functioning of the financial system and economy – and done so with the uncompromising goal of improving human welfare. Jane D’Arista followed a non-traditional and rather remarkable path to her place as a profound teacher, thinker and adviser on monetary and financial affairs. After graduating from Barnard College and beginning a family Jane took a position on the staff of the U.S. House Banking Committee in 1966. Under the chairmanship of Representatives Wright Patman and Henry Reuss (who replaced Patman in 1975) her responsibilities included the preparation of hearings, research and investigative projects. In this era, practitioners regarded the congressional research and oversight functions as serious obligations and the Banking Committee’s staff work routinely displayed a depth and rigor that would become virtually extinct in the Capitol Hill culture of more recent years.
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