David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
This paper focuses on Warren Nutter’s The Extent of Enterprise Monopoly in the United States, 1899-1939. This started out as a (1949) doctoral dissertation at The University of Chicago, part of Aaron Director’s Free Market Study. Besides Director, O.H. Brownlee and Milton Friedman were closely involved with supervising it. It was published by The University of Chicago Press in 1951. In the 1950s the book was explicitly understood as belonging to the “Chicago School” (Dow and Abernathy 1963). By articulating the content, context, and reception of Nutter’s monograph, this paper discusses four larger themes. First, I introduce the importance of Kuhnian conceptions of science to the methodological and institutional understanding of economics in the development of a ‘Chicago’ school of economics. I do this in context of previously unpublished Stigler-Kuhn exchange. While Thomas Kuhn was widely read and adopted in the social sciences and humanities in the 1960s and 70s (and thereafter), I argue that at ‘Chicago,’ proto-Kuhnian language can be found going back to the 1940s; in those early days it is partly used to disparage the achievements of economic theorizing as promoted by others. A more self-congratulatory Kuhnian self-understanding of economics as a mature paradigm starts to get adopted around 1955 by George Stigler. One important new claim is that the later Kuhnian language gets adopted in part to divest ‘Chicago’ from its shared roots with Institutionalist economics. So, this paper contributes to a better understanding of the formation of a shared narrative at ‘Chicago.’ Second, I introduce contextual themes from Milton Friedman’s writings in the late 40s and 50s to help us understand the nature of realism at Chicago. Nutter’s dissertation helps in reading and illuminating Milton Friedman’s famous 1953 methodology paper in historical and intellectual context. Third, while this chapter notes some of the political ramifications of Chicago economics, my main aim is to help explain the manner in which Chicago attempted to chart a distinctive methodological course. This methodology has often been described as Marshallian with debts to the large-scale NBER studies. Rather than going over familiar territory, I call attention to the importance of proxies in Nutter’s empirical methodology. It is an unappreciated feature of the inductive, quantitative method that focused on the component structures of the economy that characterizes Chicago’s methodological outlook in this period. I show this by comparing Nutter’s dissertation to work done by Stigler, then at Columbia. We know from Stigler’s correspondence with Friedman that in this period they discussed methodological matters. What is less well known is that Friedman is explicitly credited for Stigler’s methodological insights in Stigler's Five Lectures at LSE. The fifth lecture, “Competition in the United States,” covers similar territory as Nutter’s project. Comparing the work by Stigler and Nutter sheds light on the nature of Chicago methodology as it was being developed away from foundations laid by Frank Knight and Henry Simons in the late 1940s and 1950s and opening up the door to (right wing) social engineering as exemplified by Harberger. I present my analysis through the published critical reception of both works among economists. A fourth reason to focus on Nutter’s dissertation is that it was featured in a Fortune magazine article in January 1952. So, it provides a useful entry into how politically important ‘Chicago’ research was marketed to a wider audience. This connects to issues explored by Phil Mirowski and his students, Rob van Horn and Eddie Nik-kah. So, Nutter’s dissertation can help us see how ‘sponsored’ research looks at ‘Chicago at the time. This is especially important because it has been claimed that Director’s Free Market Study group promoted a change from classically liberal views on monopoly, which condemned labor and employer monopolies, to a more pro-business stance.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Eric Schliesser (2012). Inventing Paradigms, Monopoly, Methodology, and Mythology at 'Chicago': Nutter, Stigler, and Milton Friedman. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (1):160-171.
R. Z. Friedman (1992). Act and Idea in the Nazi Genocide Berel Lang Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1990, Xxii + 258 P. Dialogue 31 (01):171-.
W. K. Lowther Clarke (1915). Three Chicago Monographs The Christology in the Apostolic Fathers. By Alonso Rosecrans Stark. 10″ × 7″. Pp. Xii + 60. Chicago: The University Press, 1912. (No Price Given.) Syntax of the Participle in the Apostolic Fathers. By Henry B. Robison. 10″ × 7″. Pp. 45. Chicago: The University Press, 1913. 2s. A Study of Augustine's Versions of Genesis. By John S. McIntosh. 10″ × 7″. Pp.X + 130. Chicago: The University Press, 1912. 3s. [REVIEW] The Classical Review 29 (02):54-55.
Daniel Laurier (1990). Women, Fire and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal About the Mind George Lakoff Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, 1987. 614 P. 29, 95 $The Body in the Mind: The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination and Reason Mark Johnson Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, 1987. 233 P. 27, 50 $. [REVIEW] Dialogue 29 (03):477-.
P. J. Rhodes (1987). A. W. H. Adkins, P. White (Edd.): University of Chicago Readings in Western Civilization, 1: The Greek Polis. Pp. Viii + 351. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1986. £21.25 (Paper, £6.50). [REVIEW] The Classical Review 37 (02):315-316.
Scott Gordon (1985). The Soul of Modern Economic Man: Ideas of Self Interest, Thomas Hobbes to Adam Smith, Milton L. Myers, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1983, 157 Pages. [REVIEW] Economics and Philosophy 1 (01):139-.
A. Sica (1994). Book Reviews : Dirk Kasler, Max Weber: An Introduction to His Life and Work. Chicago: Univer Sity of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1989. Pp. 287. $14.95 (Paper. [REVIEW] Philosophy of the Social Sciences 24 (2):246-250.
Added to index2010-06-19
Total downloads45 ( #74,186 of 1,724,748 )
Recent downloads (6 months)9 ( #72,187 of 1,724,748 )
How can I increase my downloads?