The recent Nobel set off a flurry of remarks to which I don't hope to add. But I should say that it also prompted a note to me from Kyu Sang Lee, former Young Scholar at the HES and participant in the Summer Institute at George Mason University. Not surprisingly, given his interest in the history of recent economics, Kyu earned his PhD from Notre Dame University under Phil Mirowski. He reminds me that his 2006 HOPE article is an attempt to write a history of design mechanism:
Mechanism Design Theory Embodying an Algorithm-Centered Vision
Kyu Sang Lee
This article examines mechanism design theory (MDT), which has recently
garnered widespread attention in the microeconomics literature. The main
conclusion drawn here is that MDT provides the dominant Walrasian general
equilibrium tradition with a new transpersonal, algorithm-centered
vision of markets/organizations/institutions while leaving unsolved the lingering
problems associated with that tradition, many of which were plainly
revealed by the Sonnenschein-Mantel-Debreu (SMD) results (Ingrao and
Israel 1990, chaps. 11, 12; Rizvi 1994).
The study of recent economics has now engaged enough historians of economic thought that a new group has emerged along with a new set of conferences, the first of which was held at Nanterre, last June. You can find out more by checking their website: HESREC. I like old and dusty books -- this week I enjoyed re-reading some Mandeville -- but the new stuff, in my mind, is like a breath of fresh air in a sub-discipline that can sometimes be so far removed from the present that it ceases to overlap sufficiently with what economists know, today.