Siting the New Economic Science: The Cowles Commission's Activity Analysis Conference of June 1949

35 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2013 Last revised: 17 Jul 2013

See all articles by Till Duppe

Till Duppe

University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM)

E. Roy Weintraub

Duke University - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 1, 2013

Abstract

In the decades following WWII, the Cowles Commission for Research in Economics came to represent new technical standards that informed most advances in economic theory. The public emergence of this community was manifest at a conference held in June 1949 titled Activity Analysis of Production and Allocation. Our history of this event situates the Cowles Commission among the institutions of post-war science in-between National Laboratories and the supreme discipline of Cold War academia, mathematics. Although the conference created the conditions under which economics, as a discipline, would transform itself, the participants themselves had little concern for the intellectual battles that had defined prewar university economics departments. The conference bore witness to a new intellectual culture in economic science based on shared scientific norms and techniques uninterrogated by conflicting notions of the meaning of either science or economics.

Keywords: Cowles Commission, activity analysis, linear programming, general equilibrium theory, von Neumann, Koopmans, Dantzig, fixed point theorems

JEL Classification: B2, C0

Suggested Citation

Duppe, Till and Weintraub, E. Roy, Siting the New Economic Science: The Cowles Commission's Activity Analysis Conference of June 1949 (May 1, 2013). Science in Context, Forthcoming, Economic Research Initiatives at Duke (ERID) Working Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2274148 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2274148

Till Duppe

University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) ( email )

PB 8888 Station DownTown
Succursale Centre Ville
Montreal, Quebec H3C3P8
Canada

E. Roy Weintraub (Contact Author)

Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

Durham, NC 27708-0097
United States
919-660-1838 (Phone)
919-684-8974 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.duke.edu/~erw/erw.homepage.html

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