Economists and Societies: Discipline and Profession in the United States, Britain, and France, 1890s to 1990s (Princeton Studies in Cultural Sociology #48)
Economists and Societies is the first book to systematically compare the profession of economics in the United States, Britain, and France, and to explain why economics, far from being a uniform science, differs in important ways among these three countries. Drawing on in-depth interviews with economists, institutional analysis, and a wealth of scholarly evidence, Marion Fourcade traces the history of economics in each country from the late nineteenth century to the present, demonstrating how each political, cultural, and institutional context gave rise to a distinct professional and disciplinary configuration. She argues that because the substance of political life varied from country to country, people's experience and understanding of the economy, and their political and intellectual battles over it, crystallized in different ways--through scientific and mercantile professionalism in the United States, public-minded elitism in Britain, and statist divisions in France. Fourcade moves past old debates about the relationship between culture and institutions in the production of expert knowledge to show that scientific and practical claims over the economy in these three societies arose from different elites with different intellectual orientations, institutional entanglements, and social purposes.
Much more than a history of the economics profession, Economists and Societies is a revealing exploration of American, French, and British society and culture as seen through the lens of their respective economic institutions and the distinctive character of their economic experts.
Praise for Economists and Societies: Discipline and Profession in the United States, Britain, and France, 1890s to 1990s (Princeton Studies in Cultural Sociology #48)
"Economists and Societies is an eye-opener for economists. A study of the sociological reasons why economists do what they do, it shows that economics in the United States, Britain, and France has very different orientations. Fourcade demonstrates irrefutably that economists are as much influenced by where they are located as by their supposed adherence to 'scientific method.' This is a revolutionary book."--George A. Akerlof, Nobel Prize-winning economist
"A masterpiece. Fourcade shows a deep understanding of the institutional differences between Britain, France, and the United States, and demonstrates how they have produced differences in the forms that professional economics has taken. She explores uncharted territory and sketches a novel theory of how economics took such different courses in these three countries. This is a remarkable, stunning book."--Frank Dobbin, Harvard University
"This book is a remarkable study of how, in an age when economics has become an international discipline, cultural differences between three societies have influenced the way the discipline has developed. It would be hard to read this wide-ranging book and not learn much about how economics developed in the twentieth century."--Roger E. Backhouse, author of The Ordinary Business of Life