Sunday, 29 November 2015

Douglass C. North, 1920-2015

I'm a bit late to this due to Thanksgiving-related activities here in the U.S., but Nobel laureate Douglass C. North passed away earlier this week. North shared the 1993 Nobel Prize with Robert Fogel (who passed away in 2013) for "having renewed research in economic history by applying economic theory and quantitative methods in order to explain economic and institutional change". North's work led to the development of both cliometrics (the quantitative study of economic history) and new institutional economics.

I use a little bit of North's work in my ECON110 class, where we spend half a topic on property rights and their historical development in western countries. He is also one of the co-authors of the required textbook for that class, which is up to its 19th edition.

Washington University in St Louis has an obituary here, and the New York Times also has an excellent obituary. Tyler Cowen has collected a number of links on Douglass North here.

It is really sad - we seem to be going through a bad few years in terms of the loss of economics Nobel winners.

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