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Retrospectives: Trouble in the Inaugural Issue of the American Economic Review: The Cross/Eaves Controversy


  • Ann Mari May
  • Robert W. Dimand


The papers from the first year of the American Economic Review are included in the Archives of the American Economic Association. While researching the early years of the AEA, Ann Mari May came across a folder marked "Controversies, Criticisms, etc."-which stood out in the midst of a review of AEA minutes and reports. This folder included a bulky file on what AER Editor Davis Rich Dewey would come to refer to as the "Cross/Eaves Controversy"-a controversy that, according to a letter he wrote, would give him "no end of trouble." The trouble erupted with a book review that appeared in the first issue of the American Economic Review. The review, written by Ira Cross, addressed a book by Lucile Eaves entitled A History of California Labor Legislation. The controversy that ensued illustrates the eternally fascinating interaction of the reviewer and the reviewed and casts a revealing light on the era's standards and rituals of scholarly conduct, on the drawing of disciplinary boundaries as economics became a more distinct academic discipline, and on the differing treatment of men and women in the academic life of the time.

Suggested Citation

  • Ann Mari May & Robert W. Dimand, 2009. "Retrospectives: Trouble in the Inaugural Issue of the American Economic Review: The Cross/Eaves Controversy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 189-204, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:23:y:2009:i:3:p:189-204
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.23.3.189

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mary Ann Dzuback, 2008. "Gender, Professional Knowledge, and Institutional Power: Women Social Scientists and the Research University," Chapters,in: The ‘Woman Question’ and Higher Education, chapter 3 Edward Elgar Publishing.
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    Cited by:

    1. Benno Torgler & Marco Piatti, 2011. "A Century of American Economic Review," Working Papers 2011.27, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.

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    JEL classification:

    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • B19 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Other
    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals


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