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Irma Adelman: A Pioneer in the Expansion of Economics


  • Shoshana Grossbard-Shechtman
  • Regenia Gagnier


Major innovations and extensions require that economists change their focus. This entails the destruction of some of their human capital. Even though this is a process of creative destruction, typical of progress in industry, the process is somewhat painful and therefore is not undertaken lightly. Typically, most of the enthusiasm for our work on social and political aspects of economic growth was expressed by people either at the very top of our profession, who had human capital to burn, or by new entrants into the profession, who, as yet, had no human capital to lose. And, most of the resistance to our work came from the middle of the profession, who either could not afford to lose any human capital or could not be bothered to engage in the relearning effort required to absorb it. The initial reactions to our work exemplified this dualism. . . . Many graduate students came to Berkeley from all over the world in order to study under me. I then discouraged them from writing dissertations in the interdisciplinary tradition, fearing the potential damage to their careers.

Suggested Citation

  • Shoshana Grossbard-Shechtman & Regenia Gagnier, 2002. "Irma Adelman: A Pioneer in the Expansion of Economics," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(1), pages 101-116.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:8:y:2002:i:1:p:101-116
    DOI: 10.1080/13545700210125149

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gaur, Sanjay, 1997. "Adelman and Morris factor analysis of developing countries," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 407-415, August.
    2. Morris, Cynthia Taft & Adelman, Irma, 1989. "Nineteenth-century development experience and lessons for today," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 17(9), pages 1417-1432, September.
    3. Cecilia Garcia-Penalosa & Eve Caroli & Philippe Aghion, 1999. "Inequality and Economic Growth: The Perspective of the New Growth Theories," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1615-1660, December.
    4. Abramovitz, Moses, 1986. "Catching Up, Forging Ahead, and Falling Behind," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(02), pages 385-406, June.
    5. Johnson, Paul & Temple, Jonathan, 1996. "Social Capability and Economic Development," Vassar College Department of Economics Working Paper Series 37, Vassar College Department of Economics.
    6. Aron, Janine, 2000. "Growth and Institutions: A Review of the Evidence," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 15(1), pages 99-135, February.
    7. Adelman, Irma & Robinson, Sherman, 1989. "Income distribution and development," Handbook of Development Economics,in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 19, pages 949-1003 Elsevier.
    8. Anand, Sudhir & Kanbur, S. M. R., 1993. "Inequality and development A critique," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 19-43, June.
    9. Adelman, Irma & Lohmoller, Jan-Berndt, 1994. "Institutions and development in the nineteenth century: A latent variable regression model," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 329-359, December.
    10. Irma Adelman & Cynthia Taft Mobeis, 1968. "Performance Criteria for Evaluating Economic Development Potential: An Operational Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(2), pages 260-280.
    11. Rodgers, Yana Van der Meulen & Cooley, Jane C., 1999. "Outstanding Female Economists in the Analysis and Practice of Development Economics," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(8), pages 1397-1411, August.
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