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Siting the New Economic Science: The Cowles Commission’s Activity Analysis Conference of June 1949

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  • Till Düppe

    ()
    (University of Quebec at Montreal)

  • E. Roy Weintraub

    ()
    (Duke University)

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    Abstract

    In the decades following WWII, the Cowles Commission for Research in Economics came to represent new technical standards that informed most advances in economic theory. The public emergence of this community was manifest at a conference held in June 1949 titled Activity Analysis of Production and Allocation. Our history of this event situates the Cowles Commission among the institutions of post-war science in-between National Laboratories and the supreme discipline of Cold War academia, mathematics. Although the conference created the conditions under which economics, as a discipline, would transform itself, the participants themselves had little concern for the intellectual battles that had defined prewar university economics departments. The conference bore witness to a new intellectual culture in economic science based on shared scientific norms and techniques un-interrogated by conflicting notions of the meaning of either science or economics.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by European Historical Economics Society (EHES) in its series Working Papers with number 0040.

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    Length: 35 pages
    Date of creation: Jun 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hes:wpaper:0040

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    Keywords: Cowles Commission; activity analysis; linear programming; general equilibrium theory; von Neumann; Koopmans; Dantzig; fixed point theorems;

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    1. Backhouse,Roger E. & Fontaine,Philippe, 2010. "The History of the Social Sciences since 1945," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521717762, April.
    2. Marcel Boumans, 2012. "Observations in a Hostile Environment: Morgenstern on the Accuracy of Economic Observations," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 44(5), pages 114-136, Supplemen.
    3. F. M. Scherer, 2000. "The Emigration of German-Speaking Economists after 1933," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 614-626, September.
    4. Guglielmo, Mark, 2008. "The Contribution of Economists to Military Intelligence During World War II," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(01), pages 109-150, March.
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