History of Economic Thought

The economic theories and methods of today are the product of many centuries of historical development. Courses in the history of economic thought courses allow students to explore various aspects of this history, from the ideas of people such as Adam Smith, Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes, and Friedrich Hayek to forces behind the modern mathematical and quantitative turn in the subject and its growing influence in the policy realm.

Students also discover how economic analysis—whether of the market process, macroeconomic activity, trade policy, or the appropriate role for government within the economic system—has been influenced by a wide range of historical events, the ongoing evolution of commercial society, ethical considerations, and different conceptions of ‘science.’ As home to the world’s leading Center for teaching and research in the history of economics, the Center for the History of Political Economy, Duke Economics offers its students an unparalleled set of opportunities to explore the field’s rich history.

  Faculty Member
Photo of prof. Bruce Caldwell in front of an iron gate and stone pillar

Bruce J. Caldwell, Research Professor of Economics

Professor Caldwell's research focuses on the history of economic thought, with a specific interest in the life and works of the Nobel Laureate economist and social theorist F. A. Hayek.
Kevin Douglas Hoover headshot

Kevin Douglas Hoover, Professor of Economics

Professor Hoover's research interests include macroeconomics, monetary economics, the history of economics, and the philosophy and methodology of empirical economics.
Professor Steve Medema

Steven G. Medema, Research Professor of Economics

Steven Medema’s research focuses on the history of modern economics, though his writings range over subjects as diverse as the Ancient Greeks, Adam Smith, and British philosopher Henry Sidgwick.