Rebirth of the School: Why We Invested in the History of Economic Thought Website


The Institute is proud to welcome the revival of an indispensable resource for those seeking to understand the evolution of economics in context

Years ago, when I sat at lunch at Duke University with Bruce Caldwell, I asked him about the spectrum of things the Institute for New Economic Thinking could do to advance the awareness of the history of economic thought in the economics profession. We discussed making a very high-quality video series on timeless issues and major thought leaders. But the core of his recommendation was to reinvigorate the History of Economic Thought website that had been developed over many years by a scholar named Gonçalo Fonseca.

I knew of this website, and had consulted it many times in the past few years. I was surprised to learn that it was no longer alive on the internet. So, at Bruce’s urging, I went in search of Mr. Fonseca to see if the Institute could help restore access for economists around the world to his enormous body of work.

Read Gonçalo Fonseca on the relaunch of the History of Economic Thought site

After several meetings, and a few nudges of Goncalo, we were able to reach an agreement to work together to revive and enhance this extraordinary resource. I am so glad we could do this together. It is my belief that economists, young and old, can explore this comprehensive resource to learn about major thinkers and major themes, and more profoundly understand that economic ideas have never been formed in an imagination vacuum. Rather, economic ideas are forged in a context. Social conditions, vested interests, and structural changes underway all have played roles in shaping economic thinking, from the time of the physiocrats to the Great Financial Crisis, and beyond.

Dr. Fonseca provides an encyclopedic resource charting the interconnections between issues and ideas and thinkers through time. The Institute is very grateful to Gonçalo Fonseca for creating and recreating this wonderful resource. It is an enormous undertaking. Because of his efforts, I am very excited when I envision that the young scholars around the world can, through immersion in this public resource, deepen their understanding of economics, become wiser about how ideas are generated, and more sophisticated about how they are used to inspire social policy. Bravo Gonçalo. You have really provided a great resource to us all.

Visit the History of Economic Thought website

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