Edwin Walter Kemmerer traveled to many countries on economic missions during his career. This article studies the process that led him to become, in the 1920s, one of the most prominent “money doctors” in the history of economics. The goal is to explore how Kemmerer's travels helped define him as both an economist and a political economist, observing how Kemmerer acted and reflected on his actions as scientist and policymaker, especially during his first missions. The case of Kemmerer exemplifies how visiting other countries and engaging different realities, while not necessarily prompting a transformation of economists' core beliefs (in Kemmerer's case, the gold standard), may still lead to new tools and skills adjusted to the role of missionary. Kemmerer developed a rhetoric as policymaker and diplomatic envoy that allowed him to effectively interact with governors, bankers, and other trading interests. The network he built during his first trips to the Philippines, and well as his first publications, contributed to wide circulation of his ideas, which were then used as a lobbying instrument to disseminate a simple but multipurpose design for monetary reform based on the gold standard. Even if the hosts changed more than the visitor, Kemmerer's travels played an essential role in the development of his persona as a political economist.

You do not currently have access to this content.