About Beatrice Cherrier

I am a historian of economics. Here is my CV. You can find almost all I’ve written on my SSRN page, though I’m in the process of moving my preprints to my SocArXiv page. I am a CNRS researcher, affiliated with CREST, and an associate professor at Ecole Polytechnique. I sometimes blog on this website.  I tweet @undercoverhist.

My dissertation was a inquiry into the consistency of economists’ science and politics, carried through a comparative analysis of the life and work of Gunnar Myrdal (paper), Milton Friedman (published paper // final draft) and Jacob Marschak (published paper // ungated ).

My overarching research agenda is to understand the perceived rise of applied economics since the 1970s. Roger Backhouse and  I have coordinated a History of Political Economy special issue on the topic ( here is  our introductory chapter). To understand this transformation, we have researched how the rise of computers altered economists’ practices. I have also reconstructed the history of the JEL codes to document  how the mental map with which economists navigate their discipline came to embody the core/applied structure of economics. With Andrej Svorenčík, I have tracked changes in the postwar intellectual and prestige structure of economics through the history of the John Bates Clark medal. I am currently trying to understand how seminar, workshops and conference have shaped the history of economics with Aurélien Saidi.

I also seek to compare the dynamics of various applied fields (a project I initiated thanks to an INET grant). My case studies include the rise (and fall?) of urban economics in the wake of the 1960s urban upheaval (with Anthony Rebours), the transformation of Musgrave’s public finance into modern public economics,  how collective decision became a fringe topic in economics (pub // draft, joint with Jean-Baptiste Fleury), and the history of macroeconomic theory (paper with Aurélien Saïdi) and macroeconometric modeling (draft with Roger Backhouse). Macroeconomics, which I approach foremost as an applied endeavour, is a challenging playground, one in need of richer narratives. I currently research the development of heterogeneous agent models in macroeconomics since the 1970. I am also interested in how economic analysis is nurtured and applied within central banks. I have worked on the development of the FRB macroeconomics model at the Fed with Juan Acosta ( draft ), and we are now investigating the status and place of economic research at the Bank of England with François Claveau, Clement Fontan, Aurélien Goutsmedt and Francesco Sergi. This project is funded by an ERC/Rebuilding Macroeconomics grant.  While macroeconomics largely shapes the public image of economists, I believe that their methods, institutional ecologies and incentive systems are increasingly affected by the rise of mechanism and market design. I’m trying to get a clearer picture of this trend.

Economists’ applied identity is often embedded in specific places. I have thus examined the development of economics at MIT (paper // draft), the relationships between economics, engineering at the University of Stanford (with Aurélien Saïdi, draft available upon request). I’m now working on the various species of applied economics developed at the University of Minnesota in the 1970s and 1980s. I’m also studying the effects of the rise of applied economics on the status and representation of women in economics : with John Singleton and Cleo Chassonery-Zaïgouche, I have written a history of the CSWEP. I’m currently interested in how credit dynamics and the changing status of computer-associated work have contributed to make women economists invisible. For the moment, my attempts are focused on writing, not so much on women economists, but on the absence of women in some part of the history of economics.

Contact: beatrice.cherrier (at) gmail.com


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