The current debate in economics seems to lack a historical perspective. To try to address this deficiency, we decided to launch a Sunday column on ProMarket focusing on the historical dimension of economic ideas.
While governments have forged ahead with various industrial policies in areas such as clean energy and semiconductors, we still have much to learn about the historical efficacy of such interventions. Réka Juhász and Claudia Steinwender evaluate the growing literature on nineteenth century industrial policy and possible paths for future research.
In new research, Manuel Wörsdörfer compares the philosophies of two formative antitrust thinkers writing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the United States and Europe: Louis D. Brandeis and Walter Eucken. A discussion of their body of thought highlights the antitrust concerns of the time and how their positions can be adapted to today’s regulatory environment, particularly regarding Big Tech.
In new research, Cyril Hédoin and Alexandre Chirat use the rational-choice theory of economist Anthony Downs to explain how populism rationally arises to challenge established institutions of liberal democracy.
Philosopher Michel Foucault is often associated with the political left. Austrian liberals, including Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek, are generally associated with libertarians or the political right. However, all shared a doubt regarding the government’s ability to use statistics and data to regulate populations and markets, writes Parv Tyagi.
Economists have become increasingly interested in questions about populism over the last decade and particularly since Brexit and the election of American President Donald Trump. However, the definition of populism remains contested. Alan de Bromhead and Kevin O’Rourke argue that economists need a better understanding of populism’s history and its variegated goals when ascribing specific characteristics and behaviors to populists and their movements.
In a new book, The Chile Project: The Story of the Chicago Boys and the Downfall of Neoliberalism, Sebastian Edwards details the history of neoliberalism in Chile over the past seventy years. The Chicago Boys—a group of Chilean economists trained at the University of Chicago through the U.S. State Department’s “Chile Project”—played a central role in neoliberalism’s ascent during General Augusto Pinochet’s rule. What follows is an excerpt from the book on University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman’s 1975 visit to Chile to meet with Pinochet and business leaders.
In their research, published in History of Economic Ideas, Thierry Kirat and Frédéric Marty stress the importance of the late 1930s in the making of antitrust. The moment was exceptional for its consensus within the economic discipline and the implementation of voluntarist public enforcement, particularly under Thurman Arnold according to the prescriptions of the Second Chicago School, institutionalists, and the preferences of the Neo-Brandeis movement.
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