Tomorrow, I head to the ASSAs. I've come to like going to this conference, though the job market aspect of it always overwhelms me -- everyone trying to impress anyone who might pay attention. I'll spend tomorrow afternoon at a 3 to 4 hour Executive meeting for the History of Economics Society. I'm sorry to have to miss what will surely be a terrific anniversary session on Robbins' Essay on the Nature and Significance of economics tomorrow at 8 am. Sue Howson, Roger Backhouse and Steve Medema, Gary Becker, and William Baumol will present. I opted to stay home with my family for an extra day. On Saturday, there are at least 2 sessions of interest for Historians of Economics. One is on Chicago economics in historical perspective. Dan Hammon and Phil Mirowski will comment on papers by Levy and Peart (on George Stigler), Deirdre McCloskey, Eric Schliesser, and Ross Emmett. Then, in a session on teaching ideas for History of Economics, Levy and I will present a paper on the economist in cartoon. This is a new project -- we hope to do a book-length treatment. Here's a paragraph from the introduction:
Though they have rarely been studied by economists, cartoons and caricatures reflect a great deal of economic controversy. There is, most obviously, the issue of whether an economist is portrayed favorably, or not, by the artist. But the images below do a great deal more than simply criticize the economist; in addition, they serve as models opposed to the analysis of economists. When the political economist and MP, John Bright, addresses Irish people who are caricatured as apes, the artist asserts that the Irish are incapable of self-government.
We suggest that the images, spanning over a 100 years in the popular press, are mostly concerned with attacking the economists' notion of scarcity. You can see a (very) rough copy of the paper here:
cartoons_assa.pdf . I'll report on the reaction we get.
A reminder that the HES is hosting its first (!) ASSA reception tomorrow evening at 6!