This article tells the development of economics at MIT between 1940 and 1972. The recruitment of Paul Samuelson in 1940 fostered the establishment of a small community of economists within an engineering institute that was itself undergoing major transformations. A “new economics” was then shaped during the fifties, one influenced by the demands of engineers, scientists, and business students, and somewhat eclipsed by the promising interdisciplinary research programs emerging in the newly founded Center for International Studies. During the sixties, MIT economists instantiated the vision of Samuelson and Robert Solow, worked to make their graduate program the most appealing in the country, and gained wide public visibility as policy-oriented scientists. Yet, beginning in the midsixties, MIT’s apparently flourishing community was increasingly challenged, internally and externally. By the early seventies, the reforms implemented in reaction to these challenges had led to a normalization/standardization of its programs.
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Beatrice Cherrier; Toward a History of Economics at Mit, 1940-72. History of Political Economy 1 December 2014; 46 (suppl_1): 15–44. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182702-2716100
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