Thursday, February 10, 2011

Happy Birthday AER

The American Economic Review, the flagship journal of the American Economic Association, is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

The anniversary issue includes a piece on the 20 most important articles is here. I was glad to see that they included Hayek (1945). That article, as expanded upon by Thomas Sowell in his book Knowledge and Decisions, had a big effect on my thinking as an undergraduate. I was put onto the book by my undergraduate mentor Paul Heyne at the University of Washington.

In addition, as noted by Noreen Wolcott of our department staff, the very first article in the very first issue has a Michigan connection:
The February 2011 issue of The American Economic Review celebrates 100 years of publication. Featured in this issue is the first article published in AER in 1911: “Some Unsettled Problems of Irrigation” by Katharine Coman.

Coman received her bachelor’s in philosophy from the University of Michigan in 1880 (economics would not become a department until after Coman’s graduation that same year). While at Michigan she studied political economy with U-M President James Burrill Angell (at that time political economy was taught by the current professor of moral and intellectual philosophy, who was nearly always the president of the University or the senior member of the faculty). It was Angell who recommended Coman to Wellesley where she would, during the course of her career, teach rhetoric, economics, history, and sociology. Coman convinced Wellesley administration that economics was a subject “both suitable and necessary to the education of women” and in 1883, she taught the first course in political economy offered at Wellesley. By 1885—and not yet 28 years old--she was named full professor of history and economics. She retired in 1913 as professor emerita and died in 1915. The Katharine Coman Professorship of Industrial History was established at Wellesley in 1921.

Coman was the only woman among the AEA founders in September 1885.

Happy 100th AER!

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