WUSTL conference honors legacy of Nobel Laureate Douglass North Nov 4-6

Some of the world’s leading social scientists will be on campus Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 4-6, as Washington University in St. Louis hosts an academic conference honoring the legacy of Nobel Laureate Douglass C. North, PhD.

North, who celebrates his 90th birthday Friday, Nov. 5, is the Spencer T. Olin Professor in Arts & Sciences and co-recipient of the 1993 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

Sponsored by the university’s Center for New Institutional Social Sciences (CNISS), the conference kicks off Thursday, Nov. 4, with an invitation-only reception for some of North’s closest friends, former students and longtime research colleagues, many of whom will be traveling long distances to celebrate the contributions of their friend and mentor.

Among scholars making presentations is Elinor Olstrom, PhD, the 2009 co-recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences and professor at both Indiana University in Bloomington and the University of Arizona in Tempe.

The academic portion of the conference, which includes presentations on a wide range of social science issues, is free and open to the public. It runs from 8:15 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5, in the Bryan Cave Moot Courtroom, Room 310, Anheuser-Busch Hall; and from 9 a.m. until noon Saturday, Nov. 6, in the Women’s Building Formal Lounge.

For more information and a detailed agenda of speakers, visit the conference website, or contact Alana Bame at CNISS at (314) 935-5068 or e-mail cniss@artsci.wustl.edu.

An economic historian known for his work in the history of economic thought, North’s research examines the effects of institutions on the development of economies through time. Along with numerous journal publications, North has published 10 book-long manuscripts, including his most recent Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History (Cambridge University Press), with Barry Weingast, PhD, and John Joseph Wallis, PhD. Both Weingast and Wallis will present research at the conference.

CNISS, a research center founded by North, is dedicated to continuing his career-long efforts to promote the more efficient use of the social sciences to enhance the growth and development of individual nations. CNISS helps foster the political stability and economic growth of developing and transitional economies by drawing on the various social sciences in an interdisciplinary effort to make practical progress.

WUSTL faculty making presentations at the conference include Pamela Jakiela, PhD, assistant professor of economics in Arts & Sciences; Sebastian Galiani, PhD, professor of economics; and Sukkoo Kim, PhD, associate professor of economics. Galiani also is responsible for organizing the speakers on the program.

The Nov. 6 sessions close with a roundtable discussion on “Douglass C. North and the Rise of New Institutional Economics” beginning at 10:15 a.m. in the Women’s Building Formal Lounge. The discussion will be chaired by Murray L. Weidenbaum, PhD, the Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor.

Other participants are:

  • John Drobak, JD, WUSTL’s George Alexander Madill Professor of Law and professor of economics and political economy in Arts and Sciences;
  • Jean Ensminger, PhD, the Edie and Lew Wasserman Professor of Social Science at the California Institute of Technology;
  • Jack Knight, PhD, professor of political science and law at Duke University School of Law;
  • Margaret Levi, PhD, the Jere L. Bacharach Professor of International Studies at the University of Washington-Seattle;
  • John Nye, PhD, the Frederic Bastiat Chair in Political Economy at the Mercatus Center and professor of economics at George Mason University; and
  • Itai Sened, PhD, professor of political science in Arts & Sciences and director of the CNISS.

Ensminger, Knight and Nye are former WUSTL faculty members. Levi has co-authored research with North.