The essays in this volume examine the economist as public intellectual. Rather than assessing the changing status of the public intellectual in culture or attempting to define the identity of the public intellectual, our approach is to study the public interventions of economists, that is, the encounters between economists and their publics. In the volume we constrain ourselves to the long twentieth century in the United States and the United Kingdom, fenced at one end by the Progressive Era and Fabianism and the ongoing economic crisis at the other. Economists then and now have been occupants of the public sphere, and to understand their encounters with the public we must appreciate the expectations they bring to the meeting and the institutional contexts that enable the encounters. The unifying claim of our collection is that economists’ public interventions have been of profound consequence for both the structure and the content of the public sphere.

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