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Thinking about economics.

The way I think about economics consists of things I learned years ago before knowing anything about economics as well as all the ways I have been learning since. I find that my way of thinking, which I assert is "thinking like an economist," applies to a wide range of issues and concerns in my life. But ! do not, repeat NOT, agree one whit with some definitions of economics as an all-powerful way of thinking which can be applied to solve any problem in life, obviating the need for any other field like sociology or psychology or managerial decision-making.

What then is economics all about, to me? The first economic issue of which I was aware may very well have shaped my entire career, a good bit of it concerned with definitions and data. I grew up in Framingham, Massachusetts, then a relatively small town dominated by the Dennison Manufacturing Company, where my father was an executive. Although Framingham was more than just a "company town," many of its high-school graduates found employment in the Dennison's office or factory jobs and the thriving retail sector supported by Dennison paychecks included food stores in several districts and a flourishing "downtown" with hardware stores, national chain outlets, specialty shops, a few restaurants, banks, and movie theaters.

At home, I was used to my parents discussing things I didn't fully understand and so was able to reply, with some assurance, when a fifth-grade teacher, in the depression of 1930, asked me if I had heard anything about the Dennison's plans for continued operation. "Oh yes," I offered having no idea what I was talking about, "I heard my father say they would fire about five hundred people," and made appropriate noises as the teacher shook her head in dismay. When I repeated my tale at home my father's reaction was considerable, and he was by nature more silent than not. "Carolyn! The Dennison Company did NOT fire anyone. We had to let 500 people go!"

It took some years before I realized that my father's anger with me masked his very real dismay, and that unemployment created by the company was a tragic and unavoidable event. What I learned from the incident was that being "fired" was different from being "let go" although the distinction between voluntary and involuntary unemployment took longer to understand. I also learned not to repeat my father's remarks about his business, although I found my curiosity growing about his business, and what "the depression" meant. Unfortunately these lessons were not accompanied by any encouragement at home to ask questions, at least not about distressing things. At the same time I was taught that questions could be answered by looking things up: my parents had bought a wonderful set of Compton's Pictured Encyclopedia for my older sister and brother, and I was the one who sat down and read it, as well as looking things up. I learned that the big leather-covered dictionary on the library table in our living room was also for looking things up, and I learned that some books had an index in the back which was enormously helpful.

As for school, U.S. history was required by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts of all high-school graduates, and I was fortunate in having a teacher who used the requirement as a minimum and set his students to exploring in all kinds of ways. He was the first person I met who talked about primary sources and why they were essential to any serious study; and how we could add to the bare bones of the text if we pursued on our own, other books than an encyclopedia. I did a paper for that course on money, and learned about the things that have been used as money in different cultures and at different times. That was easy to understand, and I grasped the notion that anything could be money as long as people accepted it and used it in exchange or trade, or most simply, "as money." I remember getting hung up on banking, and why "credit" was different from "money" and yet it wasn't. It was Mr. Lundberg who told me that the paper I tried to write about the first Bank of the United States was not a history paper but an economics paper, and when I asked if there were books about economics he recommended Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations. So I read it.

It was a wonderful read, and I remember becoming completely absorbed in the parts I understood. Without anyone to warn me, I had great difficulties because I didn't know the difference between English and American, nor the difference between 18th century and 20th century terminology. I never did find out, while I was reading it, that "corn" was wheat and since I knew the corn my father grew in his vegetable garden was special it was impossible for me to understand the corn laws and much of the argument about tariffs. I also did not grasp Adam Smith's use of the term "stock" meaning inventory or asset so I equated it comfortably with corporate stock. How did I know about that? My father's position in the Dennison Manufacturing Company made him a stockholder, and he explained how purchasing stock enabled lots of people to become part owners of a company. But despite these obstacles along the way, I reveled in Adam Smith and became a firm believer in the division of labor, limited primarily by the size of the market, the labor theory of value, and a lot more. And there is a lot of history in the Wealth of Nations which I enjoyed because it spoke of people and issues I'd already read about and I became aware of how different points of view about an event or a course of events can lead to quite different historical accounts.

At Christmas time of that year my older brother came home from college, bringing with him Taussig's Principles of Economics, (1913), the required reading in his first-year course. So I read that, and was astonished at how stodgy it was, compared to Smith. I was learning to distinguish between books written as texts and books written about subjects. The upshot was that I knew my first year in college would include a course in economics, and so it came to pass. My undergraduate education was nourished by a famous and short-lived set of beginning books known as the Princeton Series. I can't remember any of the authors but I do know that the text on price analysis was still useful in graduate school, as were a couple of others on what I later recognized as micro fields. The discussion of macro issues was highly institutional, as I recall, (this was 1937-8) and I learned a lot of history about the banking system, market regulation and anti-trust, as well as Ricardo's theory of international trade, the operations of the gold standard, and the current disarray in most economies of the world.

As an honors graduate I wrote a thesis on mercantilism and its resemblance to the systems of autarky then developing in Germany. I learned a lot about economic planning under fascism and systems of bilateral trade. By then ! had learned to drive and the trip from my home to Cambridge enabled me to use the collection of early writers at the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration - I knew that primary sources would provide me with the best understanding of mercantilism. So I read Thomas Mun, Edward Misselden, Josiah Child, Davenant and I was particularly delighted with Sir William Petty and Gregory King, and their heroic attempts to put a value on the wealth and income of their country.

For the greatest gift my undergraduate economics department gave me was devoting our senior seminar to reading J. M. Keynes' General Theory of Employment and Money, (1936). We were joined by one or more of the faculty each week, as we struggled through each chapter. The faculty was reading the journal literature, which helped them somewhat to interpret for us but mostly it was a situation in which the difference in confusion between professor and student was not very great.

That early introduction to the General Theory, however, was of enormous value to me in the years to follow, because I became accustomed to the idea of aggregates and particularly aggregate demand, and comfortable with the notion of sticky wages and a variety of reasons for saving. As for the propensity to consume, it made sense the way Keynes explained it although it took many more years before I realized what he was about in setting forth his General Law of the propensity to consume.

When Keynes wrote "The fundamental psychological law, upon which we are entitled to depend with great confidence both a priori from our knowledge of human nature and from the detailed facts of experience, is that men are disposed, as a rule and on the average, to increase their consumption as their income increases, but not by as much as the increase in their income" (Keynes, p. 96) I believed him. Not just about the functional relationship between spending and income - I believed that there was a "psychological law." It seemed clear to me that psychology scholars could develop special knowledge useful to economists. (I was still reveling in the notion of specialization and the division of labor.)

But as well as my immersion in economics, I was enthralled by the sheer abundance of ideas around me. Like many other undergraduates at an excellent college of liberal arts, I was joyously overwhelmed with reading philosophy, history, English criticism, international law, and by the general wonder of knowledge itself. I had freedom of the stacks in a library whose riches lured me to endless hours in my cartel, I was taking courses which presented me with new ways of thinking, not just new knowledge. I experimented with all sorts of inter-disciplinary majors, and wound up concentrating on economics through a sheer fluke of course registration (and, of course, the invitation to do honors work.)

By the time I graduated, Europe had been at war for almost two years and the United States economy was already adjusting to war demands. Learning that my training in economics could qualify me for a job that wasn't purely clerical or administrative, I promptly took off for Washington D.C., aided by a phone call from my father to one of his colleagues, then on leave from the Dennison company to assist in setting up newly formed war agencies. Through him I was referred to the Office of Price Administration and there I entered the next stage of learning about economics, from 1941 to 1945.

The first lesson was about how economic theory could be applied. Price control was a matter of analyzing particular markets to learn how supply and demand were out of balance; I could almost use the diagrams from my undergraduate textbook to illustrate the problem with fluid milk (and the myriad local markets, each posing a different situation) or scrap metal (where markets for different metals also differed widely) or pepper or other imports where prices shot up by several hundred percent and forecasting future shortages became easy. I also realized how well Keynes' general theory, or his way of looking at the economy, applied to the situation. There was clearly an enormous expansion of aggregate demand from the requirements of the armed forces and the lend-lease program and the pressures on firms to retool and hire far exceeded the ability of the economy to increase supplies. It was not just a matter of using idle capacity, it meant moving manpower among industries and areas of the country, building new capacity like shipyards and aluminum plants and it also meant closing firms and creating shortages. I learned to distinguish between aggregate demand and total civilian demand, total supply and aggregate civilian supplies, and I discovered that with effective price controls a disequilibrium solution could persist.

The other lesson I learned has remained with me for all of my professional life, and that is an appreciation of the remarkable efficiency of the market system. This became clear from the attempts by one war agency after another to enact rules or orders forcing buyers and sellers to act in ways other than those identified by the market solution. For example, firms needing scarce supplies were given priority ratings to assure delivery. But the simple A, B, C, system of rating had to be revised as new requirements were discovered by war agencies developing new weapons. So A was supplanted by A1 and A2 and so on, and fairly soon a priority rating of B2 meant no supplies at all. And the priority system gave way to a system of direct allocation, and that didn't work because nobody knew, precisely and accurately, how much of a given scarce material there was anyway.

The lesson was spelled out in detail during my brief stint with the rationing program for new cars when production was stopped in 1942. I had the job of dealing with Congressional pressure, in correspondence and otherwise, on the agency. This pressure was for two ends: getting a car for a particular constituent who "really needed an automobile in his work" or getting a job for another "whose knowledge of the automobile industry comes from his thirty years' service on Main Street in the Metropolis Automobile Agency." Again, simple rules of dividing up the existing supply became more and more complicated and we in Washington knew that the local boards charged with actually carrying out the rules were not at all consistent in their decisions, subject as they were not only to differing local situations but differing local political pressures.

Most of my time with OPA in Washington was in Ken Galbraith's office; he was then Price Administrator, second in command to Leon Henderson. As the legal regulations became more and more complex I realized the acuity of Ken's perception that the easiest prices to administer were those already administered by a handful of firms in markets that could not faintly be called competitive. Price control could work for aluminum, sugar, tin and other commodities produced mostly by a very few firms, but it was enormously cumbersome and saddled with dreadfully complex legal regulations for men's shirts, furniture, or dry cleaning services. In Galbraith's first postwar book, A Theory of Price Control, (1952) he elaborated on these and other market characteristics which shape if not dictate the success of market regulation.

I also concluded, on the basis of Washington OPA experience, that it is foolish to suspect "the government" or Federal agencies or the Washington establishment of conspiracy. I served as recorder to the committee planning the General Maximum Price Regulation, in secrecy during the months of February and March in 1942. We met after hours, and I took careful notes which I later transcribed at home before tumbling into bed well after midnight. I came to work as soon after six as possible, to feed my notes into the copier (hectograph? mimeo? I don't remember) and send them off in sealed envelopes, marked "CONFIDENTIAL" by special messenger. The price freeze was to be one of a seven point (maybe there were nine) attack on inflation. OPA's announcement was to be coordinated with a new system of farm price supports to be announced simultaneously by the Agriculture Department, some action by the Treasury Department a new policy for the Manpower Administration, and so on. The whole thing would be announced in a major speech by the President; I remember long discussions about how much explanation of price control should be in the speech or if it should consist of general exhortation. There was to be, in short, a conspiracy among several Federal agencies on a common course of action. But it never came off. It proved impossible to get coordination even of the messages to be sent to the public by the new program much less coordination of agency activity. Personal jealousies, pride of place, foot dragging in some places and refusal to consider a new policy in others all conspired to make inter-agency conspiracy impossible.

Of course there were successful conspiracies during World War II. Of course many of the plans for military buildup and deployment were kept secret. Of course the activity surrounding the development of atomic weapons was a conspiracy. But for these and other cases no general conspiracy involving several different agencies was required. The conspirers had firm control over the activities to be kept secret. So firm, in fact, that two years later in California when the regional OPA prepared an order preventing dairy farmers in the area of Hanford Washington from raising prices, we were all furious at a countermanding order by the Washington OPA to leave the Hanford area alone. Our colleagues in the capitol didn't know why, only that the White House had decreed hands off. But watching the attempts of top administrators to secure cooperation on a program establishing an anti-inflation economic policy convinced me that the popular bugbear "Big Government" is just a bogeyman, invented to scare children from looking under the bed.

"Government" in the sense of a monolithic activity, directed and programmed to one purpose or even to a set of complementary purposes, may exist in some countries or some epochs but it does not exist in Washington, D.C. I find the term "government" to be very badly misused, especially when it comes to economic affairs. I cringe when state or local officials urge constituents to vote for a new bridge or recreation program on the grounds that "Anyway the government will pay for most of it, so it doesn't cost us here in Metropolis very much." I also cringe when electioneering drives people to say they are against "big government" or they are "against bureaucrats." Most of all, I suppose, I deplore the data which list the amount of tax revenue provided to Washington by the residents of a given state or county or city to show how little the people "get back in exchange." Government in this country exists at three major levels: Federal, state, and municipal, together with a number of assorted other political entities, including school districts, counties, watershed authorities, and so on. It is difficult to make any flat statement about "government" which holds true for each of these entities.

Aside from these two major lessons from my wartime experience, I learned a lot both in Washington and in San Francisco, where I joined the regional office of OPA (which extended over the Pacific states plus Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada), and worked on three different types of cases, each of which taught me about the limits to economic analysis.

There regularly crossed my desk appeals from a particular firm to have its ceiling price lifted or adjusted; I did the analysis according to an established format and my recommendation was rarely overturned by higher authority. If a manufacturer of, say, work gloves, wrote that his costs had gone up to the point where he would stop producing without price relief, I investigated by asking for cost data, volume of total sales and sales of the particular item under consideration and overall profit and loss statements for several previous years. The idea was that if the firm's overall profit level was in line with previous figures, and the increased costs were real, a price adjustment could be given to cover marginal costs, that is, the rise in costs since the ceiling price had been established. (The same principles were followed with a slightly more complicated analysis if the firm's entire line was threatened.) The firm had also to establish that its product was "essential to the war effort" and this usually meant showing existing or potential contracts with a military procurement agency or a buyer whose output went to such markets.

These were fun to do, and I learned a lot of extraneous information. I thoroughly approved of the methodology, which of course came straight out of my Princeton Series textbook on price analysis, and was fascinated by the relationship between accounting data and economic theory. I thought OPA was doing a good job of keeping justifiable price increases to a minimum. Then I met the price specialist for the garment trades and textile industries. The "trade" or "price" specialist came from business and typically had years of experience with sellers at different market levels. Thus, our office had a fish specialist as well as a food specialist, and my mentor was the textiles and garment trade specialist, Sherwood Levy. He was highly knowledgeable, totally committed to what OPA was trying to do, loved to talk with the price economists, and spent hours at his desk conferring with visiting business executives, whom he sent away without a hope of obtaining the freedom from price control they'd expected from a "trade specialist" as opposed to those ivory tower economists or brash young lawyers.

Sherwood introduced me to the notion of price lines and price points, and explained with gusto what the relevant numbers were, for almost any item you could mention. Men's shirts or socks, which of course sold by the dozen, were manufactured to sell in a very few price lines. Women's underwear was sold in separate price lines. Give Sherwood a retail price and he would tell you the wholesale price and the probable manufacturer's selling price. And Sherwood explained, patiently but firmly, that my solution to the workglove manufacturer's rising cost problem simply would not do. Just as patiently I demurred that if the new price covered his variable costs he would naturally continue producing. Why not? "Because," said Sherwood "he couldn't sell gloves at a price of $17,08 a dozen. Nobody sells gloves at that price. He'll simply drop the line unless you let him go up to the next level, $18.50." I persisted and Sherwood countered with predictions of how buyers would behave. "Standard weight men's workgloves at $17.087 Whoever heard of that? What is this guy trying to sell?"

That particular order went out, signed by the regional price administrator, allowing a price rise from $15.95 to $17.08 and sure enough, the workgloves completely disappeared. I think the procurement agency involved eventually located a supplier with previously approved prices much above our petitioner's request. So I came to believe in the existence of "trade practices" which operated in the market with a powerful force unrecognized by economics. True, one could speak of market imperfections, and solutions in a less than purely competitive market. But these were almost irrelevant, or over-elaborate accounts of what was going on. Supply and demand took effect not sensitively, as portrayed in minute detail in a geometric diagram or a mathematical equation, but crudely, pulled this or that way by price lines, "customary practices," and other selling conditions. Economic analysis still had powerful things to say, and I thought it would be more acceptable if economists recognized the strength of institutional factors, which so clearly shaped the actual transactions signaled by supply and demand. Sherwood agreed that government could, if it worked hard enough at dreaming up ever new and complex regulations, change or even overturn trade practices, but he impressed me with the enormous costs that would result. Simpler to accept the vagaries of actual markets rather than try to impose "market" solutions calculated by pure analysis. Sherwood Levy knew about transaction costs, and taught me what he knew, long before the formal economic theory appeared in Coase's classic article.

But California also demonstrated that if trade practices could be tolerated in some cases they had to change in others. Fresh seafood in San Francisco and elsewhere on the Pacific Coast was both a delicacy and a staple, with ceiling prices set for individual retailers by their own prices in effect on April 1, 1942, the date of the General Maximum Price Regulation. That was fine for salmon or gray sole, but crabs, the fresh-caught fresh-cooked marvel of sellers along Fishermen's Wharf, were not sold by the pound. Crabs sold for a dollar apiece, or $1.50 for a larger size, or $2.25 for a giant and so on. Now price control cannot work under these conditions. Economic analysis, after all, determines two variables, equilibrium price and equilibrium quantity. A given dollar price had to be associated with a given quantity, not number-of units. Clearly without setting a price per pound for crabs, prices would soar even more than they already had.

The West Coast office had authority to set prices on a number of items including fresh foodstuffs and the chief price economist for the office, Earl Rolph (on leave from the Economics Department at the University of California in Berkeley,) proposed a regional price order which would not only give all sellers the same ceiling prices, but would apply to fresh and cooked crab, per pound. The uproar from the "industry" - fishermen, wholesalers, retailers, restaurants - was immediate and prolonged. Over and over again we heard "Nobody will catch crab if you insist on doing this." "We'll all be put out of business!" "Your average housewife isn't going to like this one little bit!" And threateningly, "We'll see what my Congressman has to say about this!" I remember sitting at my desk watching Earl farther down the room, ensconced with three or four burly fisherfolk or their customers. The back of Earl's neck would grow red. Then it would get redder. Making an excuse to walk by his desk I was impressed at the serenity of his facial expression as he patiently argued the case for changing the customary trade practices for Pacific crab.

In fact, the order went out, tradition and custom went by the board, and years later when my husband and I traveled to San Francisco and walked on Fishermen's Wharf I pointed with some awe to all the dollar prices posted over live crab, cooked crab, by the pound. A living answer to the question "what did you do in the war, Mommy?" What I learned from my years doing price control was a lot about market imperfections, along with my overwhelming conviction that the market's job of coordinating, providing information, and getting goods from supplier to user could not possibly be bettered by any system of regulation. I didn't learn much price theory but I did learn a lot about the limits of price theory based on the competitive model. And, since the summer before I went to Washington I had taken Edward Chamberlin's course in graduate micro theory at Harvard, I learned that the more sophisticated and to me far more realistic model of monopolistic competition wasn't much good either in making price controls (or rationing, or allocation, or any other form of administrative rule design) work in an economy as complex and totally involved in markets as that of the United States. Along the way I also picked up an interest in accounting (well, all those firms asking for price increases had to submit detailed cost data along with the financials of profit and loss and balance sheets which meant that I had to learn, fast, how to read and evaluate such statements.)

And then I went to the London School of Economics, in January of 1946, and three years later received the Ph.D. in economics, with a thesis discussing how real firms put real technological change into effect. England immediately after World War II (and all too soon after the precipitate end of Lend-Lease) was a sad and sorry country, people with pinched faces and cold bare hands jammed into their pockets on a gray wet dismal February morning, people looking drawn and tired on the tube, people whose lot didn't seem to improve much from 1946 to 1949. Most of them had horrible teeth, or wore dentures, and when I went for a routine checkup to a local dentist he spent a good bit of time admiring the minor fillings I'd had in the States. War damage was highly visible, from the plots in central London barred off by fences and warning signs to those showing new growth of London Pride, that scarlet flower that shot up on dismal locations; from the still standing buildings sliced through from top to bottom so you could see half a stairway or a fireplace against one wall and a window with shattered glass in another to the acreage of bare lots in the City, with only an occasional standing structure. The children looked wonderful, though, all rosy cheeked, with stout little bodies and active limbs, running around with all the energy in the world. I realized almost immediately that although World War II had visited enormous damage and depredation on both physical and human capital in England, it had also brought about a revolutionary redistribution of real income. With children, you couldn't tell rich from poor: they all looked healthy and were healthy . . . no bad teeth among them! Food rationing had provided extra nutrients for children, and price control had made milk and bread, potatoes and greens, widely available.

I had already begun to interpret what I observed in terms of economic concepts and analysis - in short, to think like an economist. When the papers reported strikes by the coal miners, and then a concerted refusal to work overtime on Saturdays, and everyone knew that coal not only fueled British industry and homes but was also a major export, the reaction was mostly ideological. Some said "Shoot the bastards" and others said "Good for them! Standing up for their rights!" The government offered higher wages, the miners obstinately took the weekend off, and I added another example of a backward bending supply curve to the one that had been provided by the native folk at Dakar, who, when enlisted to help unload the ships for the African invasion in 1943, worked very hard for a week but once paid took off for their home villages, since they had earned enough to live happily for months. Only dropping the wage brought new workers to the docks. But the case of the British miners was of a different sort: money wages were irrelevant because civilian supplies had been so drastically curtailed.

And so some smart Whitehall official who I'm sure must have been an economist and most likely a woman got supplies of cookware, bed linens, tea kettles, cups and saucers shipped to the mining towns and villages. The supply problem was instantly solved - once the miners (and their wives) had something on which to spend their wages, the incentive to earn more by working more reappeared.

One reason I started to think like an economist was my plunging into economic history and the development of economic thought. My tutor, Ronnie Edwards, insisted that I read widely in both: historically the major technological change occurred in England during the industrial revolution and what did I know about that, beyond James Watt and the spinning jenny and the power loom? Not much in March of 1946 but I plowed through Tours in England and Wales, (Young, 1932) Samuel Smiles' stories of entrepreneurs, and all the economists writing in the early 1800's whose names had not survived like those of Malthus, Ricardo and Mill. I enjoyed it all, and the chapter in my thesis reviewing the literature on technological change is indeed complete. Along with this immersion in British history and economics I was also reading Schumpeter on innovation, and working with my tutor on his project of learning more about British efforts to stimulate technological change with cooperative research arrangements among firms in the same industry or with a common interest in material or technology. We traveled to interview and tour the firms in hosiery, machine tools, chemicals, publishing, and others, and along the way I learned how English industrialists differed from their U.S. counterparts, so that I felt comfortable two years later when I set out to interview firms for my own research.

Formal learning at LSE was very much a matter of choice and chance. I was "set up" (that is obviously slang of the period because it is not natural to my current vocabulary; it means enormously pleased and proud but not faintly showing pleasure or pride) to be invited to attend the Robbins' seminar, where the faculty and a select few graduate students met weekly to discuss everything under the sun from elasticity to the multiplier. I found my tutor's seminars, where a British business executive discussed his firm and his decision making before an audience of economists some of whom were trying to understand and some of whom were determined to criticize, lively and thought provoking. I was awed at the British ability to speak: the undergraduates whom I met talked miles around me and other Americans . . . they were literate, articulate, clever, quick on their feet, and besides they had that accent which sounded to me like total certainty. And of course I learned a lot in the Graduate Common Room, and in the local pub, from my peers doing economics or anthropology or political science.

As for "LSE economics" Robbins' definition of the field as the study of how to allocate scarce resources among competing ends seemed obviously correct to me. A great deal of nonsense has been written about this definition as a spurious attempt to create a "value-free" economics, as if there could possibly be such a thing. To me, it merely illustrated once again the well-known principle of division of labor: economists could concentrate on the allocation problem, leaving it up to philosophers, politicians, voters, or whomever to determine the ends or uses for the scarce resources. Economics occupied a middle ground, with consumers' preferences or utility functions setting the assumptions of choice theory at one end and the engineering functions determining the limits of production theory at the other. Like my earlier lessons, the considerable discussion of the scope and method of economics at LSE colored my later work. I thought it essential to be clear about what economics was and why we were doing it, at the same time that I was learning economics. It was good for me that happened, for such discussions have not occupied the profession to any extent since the late forties.

I also learned about the British class system: where everyone knew what class s/he was and that was that. Earlier in my own country I had grown up knowing that I lived on the right side of the railroad tracks and I think people's perception of sociological classifications, as of economic specifications or religious dogma, probably occurs at a very early age. Only children don't know what they are learning, and it becomes as close to inbred as can be. When I became an economist, I mused upon the fact that almost everyone in the United States, when asked replied that he or she was middle class. And they meant middle income, too. I took it to be a Good Thing, one of the ways in which my country was a bit more democratic than England, and not until much later did I come to realize that one reason this response existed was that nobody really knew the facts. Very few people knew how their own yearly income compared to that of others. Figures weren't published (for the very good reason that they weren't collected in the first place) and what people had to go on was their perception of people around them, and of people whose life styles (although that term appeared decades later) differed significantly from theirs. Later on when data about incomes became abundant, people had other problems of perception and understanding, ranging from pure disbelief ("if they only ask 60,000 people how can they possibly get the facts about 180 million?") to confusion between income, wealth, money, and earnings.

So as a card-carrying professional economist, I joined the faculty at Wellesley College. My first marriage had failed, and the need to be as much of a full time parent to my two-year-old daughter as possible meant to me teaching, at least in the short run, to give me some flexibility over my working hours. In 1951 Wellesley College faculty, burdened with classes six days a week and giving six courses a term, were shamefully low-paid; except for a few senior professors or those with private means everyone held two jobs. I was rescued from poverty by Ken Galbraith, who found me various projects for the Social Science Research Council, and my training as an economist continued. It seems laughable to think of research, given that kind of teaching load, but I had been appointed to teach British Economic History, Accounting, and something called Consumer Economics and just doing course preparations required getting acquainted with library resources and text supplements. After I remarried, my income rose sufficiently to quit the Harvard job, and I spent even more time pursuing my new interests.

First was the economics of consumption. I disapproved thoroughly of "consumer economics" on the basis of every textbook I read. They were puerile in style and thought, asking students to prepare "ideal" budgets for a variety of cases, they posed loaded questions about the value of advertising and the need for grade labeling, they were, in short, dreadful and I refused to admit this body of prejudice, misinformation, and ninth-grade arithmetic into my field of economies. The entire field was, perhaps a caricature of the normative judgments which I believed firmly were no part of the economist's toolbox. On the other hand, I had a class to meet. So began an exploration of two fields on which I concentrated heavily for almost 20 years. One was to explore consumer expenditures and saving, and I became acquainted with the wealth of existing survey data.

Wellesley's economics department has been blessed with scholars from the late nineteenth century. Katharine Coman, widely recognized by her peers, founded the department and as perhaps the first economic historian in this country did extensive research. Prominent in the founding of the American Economic Association, she wrote the first article in the first issue of the American Economic Review, (Coman, 1911). And she entered subscriptions, for the Wellesley College library, to each economic periodical as it was created and ordered state and Federal reports on industry, banking, railroads, labor legislation, and all the rest. The collection of early works surpasses that in many universities and I had it all to myself. Not only did I devour every major study of income, expenditure, and saving from the Massachusetts study in 1875 carried out by Carroll Wright, who became the first administrator of the Bureau of Labor Statistics to those in 1950, but I also began learning about survey methodology and statistical analysis as fields of their own.

At the same time I tried to explore, with equal attention, the field of marketing and market research, at least as it applied to consumer goods and services. It had long seemed obvious to me that microeconomic analysis had a major omission. The consumer choice problem could be solved, and the consumer's income allocated according to rational decision-making rules and preferences. But economics didn't have anything to say about how the consumer went out and bought the things s/he had decided on. Equally, the producer decision problem could be solved: that level of production where marginal cost equaled marginal revenue would prove best for the firm with a variety of complications applicable for imperfect competition, innovation, and so forth. But economics had nothing to say about how the product, whatever it was, got from the firm to the buyer. Yet there was a whole sector of industry in the U.S. economy known as distribution, there were Census data on retailing, wholesaling, and the distributive trades that weren't mentioned in economic analysis. The undergraduate course I evolved dealt with all these approaches to consumption and marketing and exposed students to the wealth of data and sources available in the business world as well as in economic journals. One unforeseen result was the number of very bright young women choosing marketing as a career; some to hold senior executive positions. And I still think economists err in giving so little attention to marketing and merchandising.

However as an economist I realized that the standard micro model didn't really work: the pretense that the retailer sold a "service" with its own costs failed to describe discounting, supermarkets, shopping malls, franchising and other innovations of the fifties and sixties. I developed a theory of retailing as a form of monopolistic competition, and was delighted that Chamberlin's model fitted so well. But I didn't know enough to submit a journal article, and so my analysis languished in a book which had some success as a text. (Bell, 1967). That was also where I outlined my new knowledge about innovation in consumer goods industries gathered from field studies in the early sixties, and explored the notion that consumers must also innovate when they adopt new products. Looking back, it is obvious that most of this book belonged as separate articles submitted to several different economic journals. When I first reappeared on the Cambridge scene, both Cramberlin and Galbraith had encouraged me to prepare an article from my dissertation and so my critique of the omissions in Schumpeter's theory had appeared in The Quarterly Journal of Economics, (Bell, 1951). It has been widely quoted, although I abandoned the field because of the demands of my teaching. But after that I lacked any planned research agenda and wrote for publication when I thought I had something to say.

For example, before the book on consumer choice and marketing appeared I wrote a small paper (Bell, 1960) using data from my husband's retail business to illustrate his understanding and sophisticated use of the elasticity of demand; he was also amiable when I acquainted him with this new term. Faced with potential competition from new outlets offering deep discounts, he had considered how far to discount his own prices in return, by calculating not the additional sales revenue from the potential prices but the changes in his gross margin which would result. His analysis imitated that of the textbook and came out with the same solutions - only in his business, with the costs of his merchandise determined by his suppliers, it was gross margin and not total sales that was the relevant variable.

Along with marketing, I developed my accounting course into something of a hybrid. Wellesley students, especially those majoring in economics, were keen workers and elegant thinkers; when I assigned a text used in graduate schools of business they promptly solved all the problems. I added some material on the structure of the national income accounts, which of course originate in the business accounting records of firms, and course attendance still throve. So we studied managerial decision-making, and, as economists, found cost accounting much more fun than financial analysis.

If I despaired that economists were neglecting merchandising, I was vastly amused by the general ignorance among economists about fairly simple accounting theory. A case in point was the controversy over whether real firms used marginal costing or maximized profits according to theory, and a well publicized study purporting to show that full costing and rules of thumb were the way in which U.S. business firms operated. If the researchers had learned cost accounting, they would have discovered that accountants' incremental costs are very much like marginal costs, and that accountants and managers know very well that pricing at less than full costs is preferable to discontinuing production, as long as prices cover variable costs in the short term. And neither my students nor I persuaded any of my colleagues to abandon their favorite examples of "fixed" costs - rent and depreciation - since both could vary when space was paid for by a percentage of sales and equipment was leased, not owned.

A small contribution to the American Economic Review (Bell, 1960) came when I could no longer put up with the nonsensical version of accounting presented in most elementary texts; ! wrote on depreciation and distinguished for the text writers, the difference between expenses and expenditures, as well as the fallacy in identifying depreciation as a source of capital investment. Things have improved since that article, although I still think more economists should learn more accounting, particularly cost accounting and managerial decision-making. Some economic policies are more likely to be acceptable if they are designed with an eye to accounting rules, for example the investment tax credit, whose impact on current spending by firms depends on rulings by the accounting profession. The immediate result of the AER article was an invitation from Paul Samuelson to change the treatment of accounting in the sixth edition of his influential text, so I suppose my contribution to economic thought must include preventing some unknown number of economics students from referring blithely to "depreciation as a source of investment."

In the same way, my knowledge of patterns of consumption expenditure, and of marketing stimulated a critique in the American Economic Review (Bell, 1968) of Baumol's distinction between the "technologically progressive" sector and that of slow growth. Again, my article was picked up by others, Its insistence that measuring productivity in a "service" activity like composing, cutting hair, or piloting a plane differs substantively from measuring productivity in an activity with a physical output like mining, farming, or manufacturing still holds true, although efforts to develop proxies for physical output have been fairly successful in some areas, like banking, insurance, and certain government programs. But the major thrust of that article, that technological change in some sectors requires innovation by consumers equal to, or exceeding, that by producers has not been generally accepted.

Both then and now I have wished that more economists would take the time to explain productivity in education. Not merely because it is fashionable from time to time to bash college faculty for how little they do, and easy to recommend a doubling of the teaching load in order to cut costs. An economist, especially one as devoted to teaching as everyone on the faculty at Wellesley College was and presumably still is, can demonstrate better than most why such solutions are ineffective. To calculate faculty productivity requires first that there be a definition of faculty output. It presumably has something to do with a difference in students' knowledge or skills before and after faculty teaching. It might even be called "education." One can elaborate and sketch a production function with several inputs including laboratory equipment, library resources, faculty time in and out of the classroom, staff assistance, and so on. But any teacher will add to this list "and student effort." In fact, of course, education requires student input, hard work spent learning. And since faculty do not and cannot control student learning, it is quite absurd to expect them to be able to increase their productivity.

Although as a child I had thought teaching was the last thing on earth I would ever want to do, I found at Wellesley that I thoroughly enjoyed what I was doing. Wellesley students were extremely bright and well prepared and the college grew more selective as its deserved reputation for excellence rose. Faculty salaries and workload became competitive and young colleagues joining us from big universities began to say that a senior seminar at Wellesley worked at a higher level than many graduate courses. As for economics, it had long been a strong department ranking in the first four or five choices of undergraduate majors. Our commitment to teaching meant that every one on the economics faculty taught the first year course, which we believed to be our most influential offering. By the seventies very few students graduated from Wellesley without studying economics for at least one term.

It was fairly early on that I learned, however, that "teaching" is the wrong verb - nobody can teach anyone anything, all we can do is help others learn. My ideas about how best to help people learn economics stemmed first from my observation that most professional economists spend a lot, if not most, of their time talking, and therefore that students could learn by talking economics. Accordingly, my classes consisted sometimes of general uproar with people offering analysis, criticism new facts or insights, sharp contradictions, and the occasional clarification or provocation from me. I cultivated all sorts of ways in which to encourage such open discussion and discovered that it led to real learning. And although some Wellesley students shunned my courses because they knew they would be forced to talk, others thrived. One result: a woman holding a Ph.D. in economics is more likely to have a B.A. from Wellesley than from any other undergraduate institution, allowing for size of the student body. Unfortunately, the vitally important undergraduate degree is often scanted in public knowledge; I have more than once chided a newspaper reporter or editor for noting that a newly appointed official has a Harvard Law degree but not a Wellesley economics degree. This neglect appears more often with women than with men, whose undergraduate degree is far more frequently noted.

Taken for granted in my teaching, as in my life, has been the knowledge that a woman can do everything that a man can do, except for biological functions, and so Wellesley students escaped the nonsense that economics is a man's field. My daughter grew up knowing that little boys can do everything little girls can do except have babies, and that little girls can do everything little boys can do except make babies. The economics of this, of course, means that the labor market or the supply of human resources expands significantly with the disappearance of discrimination or misguided notions of "natural" abilities or preferences among women instead of among individuals. And although I reveled in seeing a young woman change from being a student to becoming a young economist, I remained committed to the liberal arts education as my primary loyalty. When a brilliant student who'd done well in graduate school and seemed headed for economic research dropped everything and went to divinity school I was delighted, as I was by the young business executive, whose firm had paid for her MBA, who quit her job to write poetry and give successful classes in public schools developing fifth and sixth grade awareness of poetry. Nonetheless, my work consisted in helping people learn economics, and quite often they helped me in my learning as well.

One case took place in the sixties. After the race riots of the mid-sixties I led a seminar on the economics of the ghetto, and focused the students' attention on small local areas, studied by means of the data in the Census tracts, using the Census of 1960 and the mid-decade updates. Students pored over the data for urban census tracts, differing only by race but otherwise comparable in median income, age and sex distribution, and other variables. Their analysis showed over and over again, a much wider distribution of income in the minority tracts than in the white. And of course over the next twenty years the ghettos became pockets of highly concentrated poverty as the middle and upper income blacks moved out. I counted my own personal success in the comments of two black students in the course who came to me at its end and confessed they'd elected it planning to sneer at the "middle-aged white lady who'd never lived in a ghetto" but had been astonished at the depths of their own ignorance revealed by the data from the Census and other statistical sources. But a more tangible result was a monograph The Economics of the Ghetto (Bell, 1974) which, unbelievably, failed to sell because of a corporate merger. Some 10,000 volumes languished on the shelf, real life examples of frozen assets, unable to move during negotiations. And since it was a trade book, it didn't sell the next year because it was "out of date."

By this time I had also begun writing Op Ed articles, in the Wall Street Joumal, The. New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and also to present testimony before Congressional committees. I thought it important to try to explain technical points that people needed to understand in order to consider policy actions, and I dealt with a wide range of issues. I became known as a woman economist (and we were more rare then than now) although I continually maintained that I was a professional economist who happened to be a woman. But that is another story, of some complexity. What amazed me was how easy it was to become "famous." I'd been invited to speak at a Washington conference in the late sixties, and had planned an attack on those who were then arguing that women's unemployment should probably be discounted, since it was less important than that of men. I wrote to three economics reporters urging them to cover the conference and promising I would name names in my criticism (including the then Secretary of the Treasury.) They came, they referred to me in print as a "nationally known economist" and my public career was launched.

Much of my work has been concerned with clarifying definitions and data, as in the late sixties and early seventies when I became irritated with the treatment of women's employment in the popular press, the economic journals, and policy discussions in Washington. The general assumption throughout was that women's earnings were supplemental to family income, that women's employment was a function of husband's earnings and the presence of children, and that policy should be developed for the typical family which consisted of a man supporting a wife at home and two children. Contradictory evidence existed for all these, but it was buried in the fine print and in the tables at the back of government releases. For example, the unemployment rate for married men was always shown as an indicator of the severity of joblessness. I pointed out that there were some millions of married women whose earnings supported the family, and other millions who were household heads in the absence of a husband At one public event where I spoke, mentioning some of these facts, I was complimented later by the then Secretary of Labor. He was astonished at my findings and asked with great respect about my research. I gave him the page number (way at the back) of the Department of Labor periodical which regularly reported the data.

Part of the problem was the insistence on one simple model, ignoring all the actual data. Thus the assumption that women were married and their work was necessarily supplemental to the "male provider" omitted the group of respectable single women, numbering millions, who had never married and had always held jobs and who, in growing numbers, sometimes supported their elderly parents. As the divorce rate soared (or gained more public awareness) all sorts of sloppy thinking appeared suggesting that women's employment threatened the family, or that the children of working mothers were destined for poor grades in school and later delinquency. None of these were, of course, supported by data.

The "single mother on welfare" phenomenon was a separate case, although in 1973 (Bell, 1973) I had identified this group as posing a major, and growing economic problem and in 1980 (Bell, 1980) I published the first quantitative analysis calling attention to the increase of poverty among children. At a time when the number of children was dropping at the end of the baby boom, and the number and percentage of people in poverty was also dropping, the absolute number of poor children was on the rise, and drew little public notice despite the efforts of many. I thought getting the facts out would help solve the problem. but it's not that easy. People continue believing economic myths long after they have been shattered.

It was early in the seventies that I was asked by Eileen Shanahan, then economics reporter for the New York Times about the typical family consisting of a man supporting a wife and two children. "How typical is this?" asked Eileen and I had to tell her that I didn't know, nor did anyone. But it set me working.

First, I went through all the published data in an effort to extract more than the conventional tabulations showed. The result was published in the Eastern Economics Journal in 1974. (Bell, 1974). Although I knew that I had made every allowance possible for incomplete data, and that my assumptions were extremely conservative, I was nevertheless terrified at my finding that fewer than 10% of the families fitted the definition of what was thought to be typical. Adding all the cases where the husband's income supported a wife and children still kept the number of such families below 25%. (Of course, nobody could contradict me because they didn't have any hard data either.) But I knew that actual numbers, not estimates, were already available to BLS from the income data of its annual supplement to the Current Population Survey. So my next step was to talk with friends at the Bureau, and try to persuade them to present a new tabulation. This finally happened in 1976.

With accurate counting, the "typical family" was in fact a minority. Although television shows and the famous children's reading series about Dick and Jane relied on the man supporting a wife and two children, such families accounted for 7% of the total when they were first counted. When BLS notified me (they mailed me a printout) of this before issuing their press release, I was elated and thought instantly "How can I spread the word?" Not, you note, how can I use this in a scholarly article, replete with references to labor market analysis and income theory, but how can I change popular thinking? My solution was to call the editor of Newsweek's feature, "My Turn" and ask her how many families she thought consisted of a man supporting a wife and two children. "Oh, at least half, is it sixty percent?" When I quoted my figures she gasped, and agreed instantly to publish a column which I duly submitted. (Bell, 1977). It got a lot of attention, given that the readership of Newsweek vastly exceeds that of the AER or any other economic journal. But I also thought it a more useful presentation, in that all kinds of people, not just economists, became acquainted with the facts.

I have been amused by the way in which this news, about the demise of the typical family, has spread Some two or three years after my Newsweek article it was fairly common to learn of a speaker or a newly published article about some piece of "research" which had established that the "typical family" no longer existed. Since I had thought getting the facts straight, and spreading the word as widely as possible, were both far more important than getting "credit" I never objected. All the same I was impressed when Professor Mary Ann Glendon now of Harvard Law School, tracked me down because she knew that the earliest published mention of this fact was under my name. She telephoned apologetically; she had been quite unable, she said, to find any other bibliographic record and could I give her the name of the scholarly publication I had written, so that she could footnote it accurately? I told her my story and she joined in glee over having Newsweek cited in a Law Review footnote.

Much of my published work has presented available data cast in new forms, or asking different questions. My central interest continues to be income, and the distribution of income among people. Thus when a special volume of research on the economic implications of the minimum wage was being put together I contributed an analysis of the income provided by minimum wage workers, (Bell, 1981) the second such analysis to appear in a literature replete with research about the employment effect of such wages. It was criticized because it did not replicate the methodology of the first researcher, who used simulated income data, but I preferred the more awkward facts of the Current Population Survey of real people living in real families.

I fault economists for not being sufficiently concerned with the basic data and the way they are collected, rather than with the measurement of income change, income inequality, poverty measures, and all the rest. Whether the data are suitable for such analyses is rarely discussed. Primarily I disagree with the overwhelming agreement on using the family or household as the central unit of analysis. Income originates, after all, in production, and very few productive efforts consist of family activity. I have made the point repeatedly; aside from the Flying Wallendas and a very few farms or firms, families do not get paychecks; individuals do. Earning income as an individual follows from the fact that, absent illegal slavery, wages paid for labor belong to the worker. As for the ownership of capital, the basic unit again is the individual, although a wide variety of arrangements for combining individuals, including joint ownership, trusts, and common property exist. That individuals live together and share their incomes, is of course, undisputed but adds nothing to the economic analysis of income.

In addition, the wide use of survey data has also not led to as much enlightenment as it should. Surveys by definition take snapshots of the situation at one point in time; the findings of a survey two months, two years, or two decades later, since they refer to a different set of people altogether, can only be compared to those earlier in a limited way. That median or mean incomes in one year are higher than those of a previous year does not allow us to say anything about how incomes have risen for any individual or any group of individuals. On the other hand for the individual, income change over time brings probably the most significant economic events possible. It follows that data from longitudinal surveys should be more frequently used and that longitudinal studies should be designed, funded, carried through and analyzed.

Finally, the other major defect in the economists' tacit agreement to use the family or household as a unit of analysis is its failure to acknowledge human development. All economists lived in other families when they were children than they did when they first studied economics, or when they became professionals in the field. Each of us moves from one family situation to another during our lifetime, or has our family situation change around us. Consequently it seems obvious to me that the individual is the only stable unit which exists: maximizing the household utility function, or the family lifetime income stream, seems absurd on the face of it.

When you add to this kind of analysis the facts about change in U.S. families over the past generation, it is beyond me why economists continue to present stories and models and data showing family income or anything else. Family composition today includes a broader variety of types than previously: single-parent families, two generation families with an adult child caring for adult parents or other relatives, couples with no children, married couples with children from one, two, or more previous marriages, and same-sex couples with or without children but with the same kind of commitment and attitude (and economic behavior) as those "related by blood, marriage, or adoption" to quote the Census definition of a family. Average family size has dwindled over time, although to birth, death, and adoption have been added the changes when adult children move out or move back in. The first published volume of findings from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (Morgan et al, 1974) emphasized that changes in family composition and labor force participation dominated all other variables in explaining changes in or the level of family income over time and of course labor force participation for a family is itself a matter of composition. This finding is still true, and my most recent article (Bell, forthcoming) contains yet another presentation of the harmful effects of ignoring it. And the dynamics of change for one family consists of decisions and actions by one or more individuals. All this rich behavior is specifically and purposely ignored by the sterile approach of the so called New Household Economists, but it has also been overlooked by more mainstream analysts.

So what is my philosophy of economics? That this particular specialty provides clues to understanding human activities and human events which are best studied with empirical data. That an economist should know as much about primary sources and methodology of data collection as about theory or history. That economists, all of them, share a teaching responsibility, a duty to explain for general public understanding what they know or have discovered about how an economy works and in particular about how to design or evaluate economic policy. That, although economists do not provide a value-free science, they do at least try hard to separate out value questions from those of pure analysis. An economist has no more knowledge of the "best" choice between a little more unemployment or a little more inflation than anyone else. We may be able to suggest which is more likely outcome in a given situation, but our preference for one over the other should carry no more weight than our preference for green olives over black.

I am not averse to stating my own economic preferences or my value judgments. Every individual has some capacity to produce, to be useful, to do something useful; personal development consists largely in exploring and developing such capacities. It follows that I think each of us should be economically independent, that is able to earn wages by working or being productive in some way. Of course one must allow for temporary difficulties or disabilities, and the emergencies whose burdens should be shared, not individually borne. I believe that no person man or woman, has the right to bring another person into the world unless the parent is financially and emotionally ready and able to support the new human being and raise it alone, if necessary. I think most of us are born with a rich inheritance of human capital although inequalities exist, and I think that each of us has a duty to provide society with a return on the capital it has invested in us. I think more effort can be useful in improving the design of societal and governmental institutions but I hope the basic social culture of my country continues to keep the individual central to its thinking and its policy decisions.

I think these statements sound like economics, and are couched in economic terms because that is the way I think. That's what I meant back in the beginning of this piece, explaining my title of thinking like an economist.

At the same time I have always been fascinated by the readiness with which many people contradict or attempt to refute statements by economists. We lack the respect automatically granted to, say, nuclear physicists or molecular biologists when they talk about their fields. Nobody thinks to argue a biochemist's explanation of the primordial soup or a physicist's of gravitational force, but equally factual or explanatory statements about the size of the average Federal income tax, the number of workers laid off in recent months, or the effect of a change in Federal Reserve policy will be greeted with frank disbelief or a condescending divulgement of TRUTH. I think this attitude on the part of the public springs partly from the enormous amount of jargon and misinformation now current in the daily press and other media. I used to tell my students "Try to write dull! don't use colorful adjectives to describe economic variables ? but the admonition has never been heard by those writing for the printed page, where the dollar "is beaten down" by the yen or mark, where municipal bonds "stage a rally," the price index "plunges" and wages "stagnate." What is "strong" about the dollar exchange rate and what is "stagnant" about unchanged incomes? Nobody ever explains. By contrast, an economist describing these events relies wholly on extremely precise definitions and the rigorous application of equally precise concepts. On balance, it is probably much easier to teach economists how to be journalists than to expect journalists to learn economics.

I have also argued that the professional has a responsibility to the general public, which is very poorly carried out if at all, to help people understand economic facts or economic reasoning. There is no excuse for people still talking about "the elderly living on fixed incomes" given that since 1972 when Social Security payments were indexed the elderly have been the one group in the populace assured of changing incomes in response to changing prices. There is no excuse for people counting only the costs of immigration and not the contributions of workers, of new skills, of added output and added taxes. There is no excuse for a Presidential candidate to say, and his audience to applaud, that people are working because they have to work to pay Federal taxes; the bulk of taxes are levied on income. Comparative advantage and the benefits of the division of labor, limited only by the size of the market, is no more difficult to comprehend today than when I read Adam Smith years ago. People can understand with proper explanation how universal health insurance can lead to lower costs and how anything less can lead to perverse outcomes. The ramifications of "there's no such thing as a free lunch" should be more familiar: attendance soars at state colleges and universities because students and their parents believe they cost less than private IHLs, and like other taxpayers know little about the subsidies they are providing to people whose incomes would provide a much greater contribution to the cost of their education.

Above all, economists should tell people how they can find out for themselves, they can urge people to buy The Statistical Abstract of the United States and to lobby their public libraries to subscribe to as many reliable basic data sources as possible. With more and more such information available on the Internet, people should be set free from the limitations of what politicians or lobbyists or pundits tell them.


Bell, Carolyn Shaw, "A Critique of the Schumpeterian Theory," (under my former name of Carolyn Shaw Solo), Quarterly Journal of Economics, LXV:3, (August 1951)

Bell, Carolyn Shaw, "Economics and Depreciation Accounting," American Economic Review, L:I, (March, 1960)

-----. "On the Elasticity of Demand at Retail," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, XX:I (October, 1960)

-----. Consumer Choice in the American Economy, New York, Random House, 1967

-----. "Macroeconomics and Unbalanced Growth," American Economic Review, LVIII:4 (September, 1968)

-----. "Age, Sex, Marriage, and Jobs," The Public Interest, #30 (Winter, 1973)

-----. "Working Women's Contribution to Family Income," Eastern Economic Journal, I:2/3, (Summer 1974)

-----. The Economics of the Ghetto, New York, Western Publishing Company, 1974

-----. "Let's Get Rid of Families!" Newsweek, My Turn May, 1977

-----. "Economic Data, Policy-Making and the Law," Boston College Law Review, XXI:5 (July 1980)

-----. "Minimum Wages and Personal Income," The Economics of Legal Minimum Wages (ed. Simon Rottenberg,) Washington, D.C., American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1981

-----. "Data on Race, Ethnicity, and Gender: Caveats for the User," forthcoming, International Labor Review, Vol. 135 (1996) No. 5

Coman, Katharine, "Some Unsettled Problems of Irrigation," The American Economic Review, I:l, (March 1911)

Galbraith, John Kenneth, A Theory of Price Control, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1952

Keynes, John Maynard, The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money, New York, Harcourt Brace, 1936

Morgan, James, and Katherine Dickinson, Jonathan Dickinson, Jacob Benus, and Greg Duncan, Five Thousand American Families - Patterns of Economic Progress, Ann Arbor, Michigan, The University of Michigan Press, 1974

Smiles, Samuel, The Huguenots, 1876, Self Help, 1881, Lives of the Engineers (5 vols.) 1904

Taussig, F. W., Principles of Economics. New York, The MacMillan Company, 1913

Young, Arthur, Tours in England And Wales (Selected from The Annals of Agriculture, 1792-1808) London, London School of Economics and Political Science, No. 14 in Series of Reprints on Scarce Tracts in Economic and Political Science, 1932

Katharine Coman Professor of Economics, Emerita, Wellesley College
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Author:Bell, Carolyn Shaw
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Date:Mar 22, 1998
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