The book that never gets old, Episode 15 with Tiago Mata

In this episode, Christina and Tiago discuss Eric Roll’s book on the History of Economic Thought. A popular history that circulates in many editions and languages, Christina and Tiago explore the book’s making and the reasons for its success. The episode focuses on biographical aspects of Eric Roll, on the book’s critical reception and evolving structure.

Tiago Mata is a Lecturer in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at University College London. Tiago has dedicated himself to the study of “Economics in the Public Sphere”, leading a team of scholars in researching the communication of economic knowledge since 1945. He has worked on political movements in economics, in particular the resurgence of the Left in 1960s and 1970s North America and how it enacted new ways to think the economy, expertise and social justice. He has also worked on the communication of economic knowledge and statistics and the development of business magazines and how they straddle the worlds of print and management, accommodating transformations in American corporate capitalism. Besides these topics, he also works on social science methodology and the funding regimes of the social sciences.

Christina Laskaridis co-hosts the Ceteris Never Paribus podcast, is a PhD candidate at the School of Oriental and African Studies and a former research fellow at the Center for the History of Political Economy.

We would like to thank to Laura Comicini for the clip in Italian, Roger Backhouse and Keith Tribe for sharing his interview with Eric Roll with us.

This episode makes use of the British Library’s Sounds Collection, and the Oral History recording with Eric Roll.

Maria Bach on Indian Economics in the late 19th century, Episode 14

In this episode, Reinhard talks with Maria Bach about her PhD thesis Redefining universal development from and at the margins: Indian Economics’ contribution to development discourse, 1870-1905. We discuss her interest in Indian economic thought, her methodological approach of Positive Discourse Analysis, the development of the Indian economy and of Indian economics in the second half of the 19th century. Maria describes how Indian Economics was influenced by the Indian economic experience and the policy they recommended for Indian development. A focus in the discussion is on the distinct concept of development, which Indian economists developed. In Maria’s thesis, she focuses on three Indian economists: Dadabhai Naoroji, Mahadev Govind Ranade, and Romesh Chunder Dutt. They are also the main protagonists in our discussion.

Maria Bach is an Assistant Professor in the Economics Department at the American University of Paris. She has recently finished her PhD at King’s College London in International Political Economy. In her thesis, she analyses how Indian Political Economists constructed an idea of development at the turn of the 19th century. Before starting her PhD, Maria was a consultant at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris working on a project entitled New Approaches to Economic Challenges. Maria completed her MSc in Development Economics in 2012 at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and her BA in International Economics and Applied Mathematics at the American University of Paris in 2011. And Maria is a co-host of Ceteris Never Paribus: The History of Economic Thought Podcast.

An article based on some of her Phd research has been published in the European Journal of the History of Economic Thought (EJHET): What laws determine progress? An Indian contribution to the idea of progress based on Mahadev Govind Ranade’s works, 1870–1901

Peter Boettke on F. A. Hayek, Episode 13

In this episode Erwin and Reinhard talk with Peter Boettke about his new book on Hayek, F.A. Hayek: Economics, Political Economy and Social Philosophy, published with Palgrave Macmillan. We discuss the various stages in Hayek’s work, Hayek’s relation to neoliberalism, Pete’s contra-Whig methodology for the history of economics (with a hat tip to Kenneth Boulding), Hayek’s relation to the Scottish Enlightenment, what it means to be an epistemic institutionalist, and the extent to which there was continuity between the early neoclassicals and the Austrian School. As well as many other subjects related to Hayek, and what a Hayekian research program looks like.

Peter Boettke is Director of the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, as well as the BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, and a University Professor of Economics and Philosophy at George Mason University. He blogs at

Adam Leeds on the Development of Soviet and Russian Economics, Episode 12

In this episode, Adam Leeds talks with Reinhard about his thesis “Spectral Liberalism: On the Subject of Political Economy in Moscow”, for which Adam won the 2018 “Joseph Dorfman Best Dissertation Prize” awarded by the History of Economics Society. We talk about the development of Soviet and Russian economics and its relationship with politics starting from the late tsarist era, the Soviet Union under first Lenin and Stalin, the post-Stalin era, Gorbachev’s reforms, ending with the development in the 1990s and early 2000s. The topics we discuss include Adam’s research approach of oral history, methodological issues about conducting interviews in Russia, and the relationship between anthropology and the history of economic thought.

Adam is an anthropologist (with an interest in the history of economics) and an assistant professor at Department of Slavic Languages at Columbia University.

Paul Dudenhefer on Academic Writing, Episode 11

In this episode, Reinhard talks with Paul Dudenhefer about academic writing, especially about writing English journal articles. The topics we discuss include the framing of an article, writing for an “Anglo-American audience”, how to write clearly and entertainingly, how to avoid the curse of knowledge, how to get most out of feedback, and writing for a general audience.

Paul is a professional writer and editor. He was copy editor of the journal History of Political Economy (HOPE) for more than 15 years, until 2016. Currently, Paul is the managing editor of the journal Politics & Society. Paul has taught writing to graduate students and given workshops on writing. He has also written a booklet titled Writing the Field Paper and Job Market Paper: A Holistic and Practical Guide for PhD Students in Economics. You can find Paul on his website (where you can also hire him to edit your paper).

Books and articles mentioned by Paul in this episode:

Irwin Collier on Economics in the Rear-View Mirror, Episode 10

In this episode Irwin Collier, professor of Economics at the John-F.-Kennedy Institute for North American Studies at the Free University of Berlin, talks about his project Economics in the Rear-View Mirror, which recently celebrated its third anniversary. On his website, Irwin is collecting and making available teaching resources used in economics programmes at US universities. These resources include syllabi, exams, and lecture notes. His project is covering the period from roughly 1870 – 1970. So far, the website features more than 750 artefacts, including documents from Joseph Schumpeter, Paul Samuelson, Robert Solow, Frank Knight, and many more well-known and lesser-known economists. Irwin’s website is a treasure for historians of economics, and a treasure that is still growing. The interview covers the motivation and aim of the project, some technical and archival topics, as well as some lessons on the development of economics from 1870–1970 that can be drawn from the project so far.

Erwin Dekker on the Viennese Students of Civilization, Episode 9

In this episode, Erwin Dekker talks about his book The Viennese Students of Civilization: The Meaning and Context of Austrian Economics Reconsidered. We discuss Erwin’s cultural approach to the history of economic thought in general, before Erwin talks about the cultural context and historical developments which he argues are important to understand the development of early Austrian economics from its beginning in the late 19th century until the emigration of Austrian scholars in the 1930s. The interview also covers how Austrian economists adapted to their exiles in the English-speaking world and how modern Austrian economics differs from the approach used by Austrian economists in Austria. Towards the end of the interview, we discuss the challenges of writing a book that covers a large group of people, the endeavour of transforming a PhD thesis into a book published by the Cambridge University Press, and the role of historians of economic thought as the last generalists.

Erwin is a post-doctoral researcher at the Erasmus School of Economics where he is working on the intellectual biography of Nobel laureate and Dutch economist Jan Tinbergen. He is also assistant professor in cultural economics at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication and has been post-doctoral fellow at the Economics Department of George Mason University. His research focuses on the intersection of art and culture with economics. He has published in the fields of cultural economics, economic methodology and intellectual history, and he is currently working on the moral frameworks which sustain markets. And he is a co-host of this podcast.

Gareth Dale on the Life of Karl Polanyi, Episode 8

In this episode, Gareth Dale talks about his biography “Karl Polanyi: A Life on the Left”, which has recently been published in paperback. We discuss Polanyi’s childhood and youth in Budapest, his move to Vienna after the First World War, his escape from Austrofascism to first England and later North America, where he would write his main work The Great Transformation. We also talk about Polanyi’s relationship with his wife Ilona Duczyńska and his brother Michael Polanyi. We end the interview with some challenges of writing a biography.

Gareth is a social scientist and senior lecturer at Brunel University. Besides Polanyi, his research interests include the political economy of the environment, the growth paradigm, the history of East Germany, the political economy of Eastern Europe, social movement theory, and international migration. Gareth has been working on Karl Polanyi for more than a decade. His research has resulted in several papers as well as the following four books on Polanyi, which are mentioned in the episode:

Professor Annie Cot on the Master 2 program “Economics and Social Sciences: Epistemology, Methodologies and Theories” at the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, Episode 7

For this episode we interviewed professor Annie Cot, director of the Master 2 Économie et Sciences Humaines (épistémologie, méthodes, théories) at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. We talked about the origin and evolution of the Master, as well as the type of work that their students carry out and the academic environment that the faculty and PhD students provide.


Professor Medema on ‘ “Exceptional and Unimportant”? The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of Externalities in Economic Analysis’ at the HPPE Seminar, Episode 6

This episode features the Historical and Philosophical Perspectives on Economics (HPPE) seminar at LSE with Professor Steven Medema on “Exceptional and Unimportant”? The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of Externalities in Economic Analysis that took place on 8th November 2017.

About the presenter:

Steven Medema is Distinguished Professor of Economics and Director of CU Denver’s University Honors and Leadership Program. His research focuses on the history of twentieth-century economics, and his current project analyzes the origins, diffusion, and controversies over the Coase theorem in economics, law and beyond. He co-edited the 2014 book, Paul Samuelson on the History of Economic Analysis: Selected Essays (CUP) with Anthony Waterman. His 2009 book, The Hesitant Hand: Taming Self-Interest in the History of Economic Ideas (Princeton), was awarded the 2010 Book Prize by the European Society for the History of Economic Thought. Professor Medema served as Editor of the Journal of the History of Economic Thought from 1999-2008 and currently serves as General Editor of Oxford Studies in the History of Economics (OUP). He is a member of the editorial boards of several history of economics journals and served as President of the History of Economics Society for 2009-10.

About the Paper:

Economists typically locate the origins of the theory of externalities in A.C. Pigou’s The Economics of Welfare (1920, 1932), where Pigou suggested that activities which generate uncompensated benefits or costs—e.g., pollution, lighthouses, scientific research—represent instances of market failure requiring government corrective action. According to this history, Pigou’s effort gave rise to an unbroken Pigovian tradition in externality theory that continues to exert a substantial presence in the literature to this day, even with the stiff criticisms of it laid down by Ronald Coase (1960) and others beginning in the 1960s. This paper challenges that view. It demonstrates that, almost immediately after the publication of The Economics of Welfare, economists largely stopped writing about externalities. On the rare occasions when externalities were mentioned, it was in the context of whether a competitive equilibrium could produce an efficient allocation of resources and to note that externalities were an impediment to the attainment of the optimum. When economists once again began to take up the subject of externalities in a serious way, the very real externality phenomena—pollution, etc.—that had concerned Pigou were not in evidence. Instead, the analysis was targeted at identifying how and why externalities violated the necessary conditions for an optimal allocation of resources in a competitive system. In short, externalities were conceived very differently in the welfare theory of the 1950s than they had been in Pigou’s treatise. It was only when economists began to turn their attention to environmental and urban problems that we see a return to a conception of externalities as real, policy-relevant phenomena—that is, to the type of externality analysis that had preoccupied Pigou and that characterizes the economic analysis of externalities today. Even then, however, the approach to externality policy was anything but straightforwardly Pigovian in nature. The history of externality theory is therefore not a history of a continuous tradition but of changing conceptions of externalities, framed by changing ideas about what economic theory is attempting to achieve.

The paper can be downloaded here.

About HPPE:

The HPPE seminar series is organised by PhD students at the Economic History Department at LSE established by Gerardo Serra and Raphaelle Schwarzberg in 2012. The seminar brings together scholars from different disciplines to discuss the evolution of economic thinking and embraces topics from Ancient Greece to contemporary Africa. The seminar inquires how the theory and practice of economics changes with the historical and philosophical context. It aims to provide scholars at any stage of their career with an opportunity to discuss their work with a critical audience. For further information, please contact the current convener, Chung Tang Cheng.

Special thanks to both Professor Medema,Tang and all attendees for making this episode possible!

Please note that the Q&A that was part of the recording had to be cut due to poor sound quality. Rest assured that we are continuously working on making our recording practices better!