Fifteen years after the Global Financial Crisis: Recessions and Business Cycles in the History of Economic Thought

The Center for Economic Analysis of Human Behavior and Social Institutions at the NBER: The Rise of an Intellectual Community

Luchtmann Morten, University of Lorraine

This paper looks at a community of economists in the 1960s and 1970s at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) that developed approaches toward non-market behavior by making use of the human capital framework. Taking as main historical source staff reports information from official yearly NBER reports (1958-1977) I trace a) the way in which the human capital framework has evolved as a community driven project with a shared set of conceptions, and b) the way in which its researchers used the institutional structure of the NBER to gather funding for the extension of their research project. With the help of simple visualizations, I describe how different researchers from the group took different roles in the community building, how the community administrators turned the common project into a kind of program – the Center for Economic Analysis of Human Behavior and Social Institutions (CEAHBSI) - and how increased government funding from government agencies sustained the development of economic non-market behavior models based on human capital. The years of that community at the NBER is an interesting period because the CEAHBSI disintegrated in the late 1970s, but their scholars flocked out to continue research in different places.

Area: Eshet Conference

Keywords: NBER; Intellectual Community, human capital

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