The immediate postwar period witnessed not only a considerable expansion of economics graduate education in the United States but also its reformulation. Graduate education at MIT became more technical, with shorter theses on narrowly defined problems. This occurred as economics was going through important changes, informed by its mathematization, by the stabilization of a neoclassical way of doing economics, by the advancement of econometrics and the “Keynesian revolution,” and by the Americanization of economics. The MIT PhD program in economics was created only in 1941 but very quickly became a major producer of PhDs. The new training offered by MIT to economists not only followed larger changes in US academe but also contributed to them, and this makes it an important case study of the transformation of American economics more generally. My aim here is to scrutinize the formative years of this graduate program, mostly the 1940s and 1950s.

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