Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Douglass C. North, 1920-2015

Douglass C. North, co-recipient (with Robert Fogel) of the 1993 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences and the Spencer T. Olin Professor Emeritus in Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, died Monday, November 23, 2015, at his summer home in Benzonia, Michigan. He was 95.
     North examined the formation of political and economic institutions and the impact of those institutions on the performance of economies through time. In the words of his Nobel citation, he was honored “for having renewed research in economic history by applying economic theory and quantitative methods in order to explain economic and institutional change.”
      North received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley; before moving to Washington University in 1983, he taught for many years at the University of Washington. His major works include The Economic Growth of the United States, 1790-1860 (1961), Institutional Change and American Economic Growth (with Lance Davis) (1971), Structure and Change in Economic History (1981), and Institutions, Institutional Change, and Economic Performance (1990).
      A number of obituaries and appreciations have already appeared: that from Washington University is here (with a video interview at the end); the New York Times story is here; the Washington Post obituary is here; Forbes has an essay here; student Michael Sykuta wrote about him here; and Peter Klein of the "Organizations and Markets" blog has a comment here. We'll update the list as more commentary becomes available.
    More obituaries and comment:
Library of Economics and Liberty
Henry Farrell, at Crooked Timber
John Wallis at Vox
Kevin Bryan at Vox
The Economist
Financial Times
University of Washington, Department of Economics
John Nye, at "Organizations and Markets"
Hoover Institution, "Remembering Douglass North"
And Tyler Cowen over at "Marginal Revolution" is also keeping a list.