Neoliberal Grandfathers and the Success of Their Progeny: A Genealogical Analysis of Economists' Professional Networks

Sunday, June 26, 2016: 10:45 AM-12:15 PM
234 Dwinelle (Dwinelle Hall)
Kevin Young, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA
Lasse Folke Henriksen, Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen, Denmark
Leonard Seabrooke, Frederiksberg, Denmark; Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen, Denmark
This paper analyzes the professional networks of economists in the United States since the 1960s in order to better understand the recent evolution of the field. Specifically we seek to understand the remarkable ascendancy of neoliberal economists and to hone in on the factors which led to their ascendancy, focusing on mechanisms of selection (such as external funding, hiring practices) versus behavior (professional practices, publication records). We examine the mechanisms of neoliberal ascendance by tracing back the lineages of professional economists based on approximately 5000 PhD student-supervisor relationships over the last five decades. The presence of known prominent neoliberal economists in the 1960s and early 1970s allows us to assess who their progeny were and to assess the professional characteristics, strategies and selection forces on this group of people. We gather the same data from the progeny of known prominent non-neoliberal economists in the same period, which allows us to produce a carefully matched comparison of individuals and their network attributes at a given point in time.