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Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 1 No. 1 (Summer 1987)

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Should the American Economic Association Have Toasted Simon Newcomb at Its 100th Birthday Party?

Article Citation

Barber, William J. 1987. "Should the American Economic Association Have Toasted Simon Newcomb at Its 100th Birthday Party?" Journal of Economic Perspectives, 1(1): 179-183.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.1.1.179

Abstract

Should the American Economic Association have toasted Simon Newcomb at its 100th birthday party? Some might be inclined to dismiss the question posed above as preposterous. He was never a member of the American Economic Association. Indeed, the moving spirit behind the founding of the association in 1885 -- Richard T. Ely -- insisted then that a central objective of the organization should be to fight the influence of "the Sumner, Newcomb crowd." As it happened, both the timing and the early shape of the American Economic Association owed something to the tensions between Simon Newcomb and Richard T. Ely over the correct approach to economic inquiry. So perhaps Simon Newcomb should be entitled to some overdue recognition for his role as an unwitting catalyst in the formation of the American Economic Association.

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Authors

Barber, William J. (Unlisted)

JEL Classifications

011: General Economics

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