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Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 23 No. 3 (Summer 2009)


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

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May, Ann Mari, and Robert W. Dimand. 2009. "Retrospectives: Trouble in the Inaugural Issue of the American Economic Review: The Cross/Eaves Controversy." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 23(3): 189-204.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.23.3.189


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.

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May, Ann Mari (U NE)
Dimand, Robert W. (Brock U)

JEL Classifications

A14: Sociology of Economics
B19: History of Thought through 1925: Other
B31: History of Thought: Individuals


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