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What Led Eminent Economists to Become Economists?


  • Brent A. Evans
  • Paul W. Grimes
  • William E. Becker


The authors analyze the various factors that highly recognized economists cite as reasons for pursuing a career in economics. They obtained data for 62 of the 67 Nobel Laureates in economics and included another 22 prominent economists who have made significant contributions in economic research. The authors’ basic quest was to discover how these economists first became interested in the subject, but the authors found little uniformity in the responses: No more than 33 percent of the economists indicated the same factor as contributing to their initial interest in economics. Approximately half of the economists entered college without an interest in the subject. The authors’ findings are presented with the intent of informing academic economists and other educators seeking to improve recruitment and mentoring efforts of top students.

Suggested Citation

  • Brent A. Evans & Paul W. Grimes & William E. Becker, 2012. "What Led Eminent Economists to Become Economists?," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(1), pages 83-98, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jeduce:v:43:y:2012:i:1:p:83-98
    DOI: 10.1080/00220485.2012.636713

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Karen Ilse Horn, 2009. "Roads to Wisdom, Conversations with Ten Nobel Laureates in Economics," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 13646.
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