Inside the Economist's Mind: Conversations with Eminent Economists / Edition 1

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By focusing on the human side as well as the intellectual dimensions of how economists work and think, this collection of interviews with top economists of the 20th century becomes a startling and lively introduction to the modern world of macroeconomics. A fun read!

For more information, frequent updates, and to comment on the forthcoming book, visit William A. Barnett's weblog at

Acclaim for Inside the Economist's Mind

"In candid interviews, these great economists prove to be fabulous story tellers of their lives and times. Unendingly gripping for insiders, this book should also help non-specialists understand how economists think."
Professor Julio Rotemberg, Harvard University Business School, and Editor, Review of Economics and Statistics.

"Economics used to be called the 'dismal science'. It will be impossible for anybody to hold that view anymore ... This is science with flesh and blood, and a lot of fascinating stories that you will find nowhere else."
Dr. Jean-Pascal Bénassy, Paris-Jourdan Sciences Économiques, Paris, France

"This book provides a rare and intriguing view of the personal and professional lives of leading economists ... It is like A Beautiful Mind, scaled by a factor of 16 [the number of interviews in the book]."
Professor Lee Ohanian, University of California at Los Angeles

" ... if you want an insider view of how economics has been developing in the last decades, this is the (only) book for you."
Professor Giancarlo Gandolfo, University of Rome ‘La Sapienza,’ Rome

"Here we see the HUMAN side of path-breaking research, the personalities and pitfalls, the DRAMA behind the science."
Professor Francis X. Diebold, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Inside the Economist's Mind is a very rare thing—aneconomic page-turner. The personalities behind the frontiers ofeconomic research make for compelling reading. I cannot recommendit highly enough.

Stephen Kinsella, University of Limerick

"A wonderful collection of personal and professional insights byEconomics' leading intellectuals. Each one is worth reading."
Professor Mark Watson, Princeton University

"In candid interviews, these great economists prove to befabulous storytellers of their lives and times. Unendingly grippingfor insiders, this book should also help non-specialists understandhow economists think."
Julio Rotemberg, Harvard University Business School

"The interviews in this volume are unique intellectual documentsin the history of economic thought, economic policy, and biography.Scholars will value them as primary sources. Readers with only apassing interest in economics will be delighted by theirentertaining insights into the minds and lives of these greatthinkers. This is one of the most valuable projects in academiceconomic publishing for a long time, and we should all be gratefulto the journal, Macroeconomic Dynamics, for collecting thesearchival treasures over a number of years."
Professor Douglas Gale, New York University

"Economics has made swift progress in the past fewdecades and its role in policy-making has radically increased. Theinterviews of many of the most prominent researchers andpolicy-makers offer a unique insider view of these developments.This book is fascinating reading to anyone interested incontemporary economics and its role in modern societies."
Seppo Honkapohja, University of Cambridge

"Economics used to be called the 'dismal science'. It will beimpossible for anybody to hold that view anymore after readingthese interviews. This is science with flesh and blood, and a lotof fascinating stories that you will find nowhere else."
Dr. Jean-Pascal Bénassy, Paris-Jourdan SciencesÉconomiques (PSE) and Centre pour la Recherche Economique etses Applications

"This book provides a rare and intriguing view of the personaland professional lives of leading economists, and the circumstancesthat facilitated their creative breathroughs. It is like ABeautiful Mind, scaled by a factor of 16 [the number of interviewsin the book]."
Professor Lee Ohanian, UCLA

"Histories of economic analysis abound, but if you want aninsider view of how economics has been developing in the lastdecades, this is the (only) book for you."
Giancarlo Gandolfo, University of Rome

"Here we see the human side of path-breaking research, thepersonalities and pitfalls, the drama behind the science."
Professor Francis X. Diebold, University ofPennsylvania

"These 25-page conversations quickly hone in on what makes theseleading economists from the academic world and public policycorridors tick, and how they—and the profession itself—evolved inresearch and thinking." CHOICE

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405157155
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/1/2007
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 456
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul A. Samuelson is Professor Emeritus of Economics andInstitute Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute ofTechnology. In 1970 he became the first American to win the NobelPrize in Economics. His landmark 1947 book, Foundations ofEconomic Analysis, based upon his Ph.D. dissertation at HarvardUniversity, established him as “the economists’economist” by raising the standards of the entire profession.Paul Samuelson's classic textbook, Economics, firstpublished in 1948, is among the most successful textbooks everpublished in the field.

William A. Barnett is Oswald Distinguished Professor ofMacroeconomics at the University of Kansas. He is Editor of themonograph series International Symposia in Economic Theory andEconometrics, and Editor of the journal, MacroeconomicDynamics. He has published 17 books and over 130 articles inprofessional journals.

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Table of Contents

About the Editors     vii
Coeditor's Foreword: Reflections on How Biographies of Individual Scholars Can Relate to a Science's Biography   Paul A. Samuelson     viii
Coeditor's Preface: An Overview of the Objectives and Contents of the Volume   William A. Barnett     xi
History of Thought Introduction: Economists Talking with Economists, An Historian's Perspective   E. Roy Weintraub     1
The Interviews
An Interview with Wassily Leontief   Duncan K. Foley     15
An Interview with David Cass   Stephen E. Spear   Randall Wright     32
An Interview with Robert E. Lucas, Jr.   Bennett T. McCallum     57
An Interview with Janos Kornai   Olivier Blanchard     67
An Interview with Franco Modigliani   William A. Barnett   Robert Solow     85
An Interview with Milton Friedman   John B. Taylor     110
An Interview with Paul A. Samuelson   William A. Barnett     143
An Interview with Paul A. Volcker   Perry Mehrling     165
An Interview with Martin Feldstein   James M. Poterba     192
An Interview with Christopher A. Sims   Lars Peter Hansen     209
An Interview with Robert J. Shiller   John Y. Campbell     228
An Interview with Stanley Fischer   Olivier Blanchard     261
An Interview with Jacques Dreze   Pierre Dehez   Omar Licandro     278
An Interview with Thomas J. Sargent   George W. Evans   Seppo Honkapohja     307
An Interview with Robert Aumann   Sergiu Hart     327
Conversations with James Tobin and Robert J. Shiller on the "Yale Tradition" in Macroeconomics   David Colander     392
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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2006

    An Early Review

    A review of this new book just appeared on the British blog, New Economist, in London. The first line of the review is 'Published earlier this week, Inside the Economist's Mind: Conversations with Eminent Economists, has all the hallmarks of an economic bestseller.' I have read the book and indeed the New Economist is right. What most distinguishes this book is its 'no holds barred' revelations and astonishing statements by many of the world's most famous 'celebrity' economists, including eight Nobel Laureates, a former Federal Reserve Board chairman, the current Governor of the Bank of Israel, a former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, along with other economists of similar importance. This book is filled with inside information from those who know the truth, but had not previously revealed it. The book contains some unusual photos, such as photos of Franco Modigliani with the Kings of Sweden and Spain and Paul Samuelson with Bill Clinton.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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