Passion and Craft: Economists at Work

Front Cover
Michael Szenberg
University of Michigan Press, 1998 - Business & Economics - 314 pages
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Most celebrities have to wait until the end of their careers to publish their autobiographies. Here, twenty economists in mid-career (nineteen scholars and an economics journalist) bring together personal accounts of their work and lives. The contributors were asked to elaborate on their methods of working and their private thoughts. The result is a rich set of biographies, addressing issues such as the effects of politics on work and vice versa, family life, creativity in and inspired by the workplace, the study of law and economics, and the conducting of research, and the role of women in this male-dominated field.
The contributing economists represent a wide range of endeavors in economics such as research, education, law, and journalism, and include Francine D. Blau, David Colander, William Darity, Jr., Avinash Dixit, Benjamin M. Friedman, Claudia Goldin, David M. Gordon, Elhanan Helpman, Paul Krugman, William M. Landes, N. Gregory Mankiw, Deirdre N. McCloskey, Rachel McCulloch, Philip Mirowski, Roger B. Myerson, Susan Rose-Ackerman, Richard Schmalensee, Hal R. Varian, David Warsh, and Gavin Wright. Michael Szenberg provides an introduction.
Passion and Craft provides a fascinating glimpse into the minds and lives of some of the most interesting economists of our time. It will be inspiring reading for economists as well as all other social scientists, students considering a career in economics, and anyone interested in how great minds work.
"Passion and Craft is a worthy sequel to Eminent Economists. It should be of greatest interest to young scholars who want to know what it is like to 'do economics' and to senior economists who will learn how things have changed (or have they?)." --Victor R. Fuchs, Stanford University
Michael Szenberg is Director, Center for Applied Research, and Professor of Economics, Lubin School of Business, Pace University. He also serves as editor of The American Economist.
  

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Contents

On Becoming and Being an Economist
20
Confessions of an Economic Gadfly
39
Why I Work
57
My System of Work Not
69
Principles of Economics
82
The Economist as Detective
98
Pursuing Economics outside the Mainstream
113
Doing Research
133
Assembling the Puzzle Pieces
199
Confessions of an Aging Enfant Terrible
213
A Personal Perspective
227
On Being a Female Economist
234
Ways I Have Worked
243
How to Build an Economic Model in Your Spare Time
256
Working as an Economic Journalist
272
How and Why I Work on Economic History
283

How I Work
143
An Autobiographical Essay
155
My Rules of Thumb
176
Duty and Creativity in Economic Scholarship
187
Contributors
305
Index
307
Copyright

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Page 18 - It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our , dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity, but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages.
Page vii - I GIVE you the end of a golden string, Only wind it into a ball ; It will lead you in at Heaven's gate Built in Jerusalem's wall.
Page 18 - CONCERN for our own happiness recommends to us the virtue of prudence ; concern for that of other people, the virtues of justice and beneficence — of which the one restrains us from hurting, the other prompts us to promote that happiness.
Page 5 - It seems that if one is working from the point of view of getting beauty in one's equations, and if one has really a sound insight, one is on a sure line of progress.
Page 7 - Archilochus: the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.
Page vii - We are afraid. " "Come to the edge, " he said. They came. He pushed them.
Page xvii - Of course, I was working on a basic Assumption — that there was order in behavior if I could only discover it — but such an assumption is not to be confused with the hypotheses of deductive theory. It is also true that I exercised a certain Selection of Facts, not because of relevance to theory but because one fact was more orderly than another.
Page 10 - The intellect of man is forced to choose Perfection of the life, or of the work, And if it take the second must refuse A heavenly mansion, raging in the dark.
Page xvii - The notes, data, and publications which I have examined do not show that I ever behaved in the manner . . . described by John Stuart Mill or John Dewey or as in reconstructions of scientific behavior by other philosophers of science. I never faced a problem which was more than the eternal problem of finding order.

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About the author (1998)

Michael Szenberg is Distinguished Professor of Economics at the Lubin School of Business, Pace University. He is the author or editor of many books, including Economics of the Israeli Diamond Industry (1973) which won the Irving Fisher Monograph Award and Eminent Economists, Their Life Philosophies (1992). Professor Szenberg has received the Kenan Award for excellence in teaching. He serves as the editor in chief of The American Economist and as a consultant to private and government agencies.

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