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Avner Offer, Phillip Mirowski, and Gabriel Soderberg to be Awarded a Grant from the Institute for New Economic Thinking


An INET grant will fund research into the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, and its influence on Market Liberal Policy Norms between 1968-2000

New York, NY, November 25, 2010 --(PR.com)-- The Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET), launched with a $50 million pledge from George Soros to promote changes in economic theory and practice through research grants, Task Force groups, academic partnerships, and conferences, announced that it has selected Avner Offer of Oxford University, Philip Mirowski of the University of Notre Dame and Gabriel Soderberg of Uppsala University to be awarded a project grant. The project will investigate the influence of economic doctrines on policy norms in the recent decades, through analysis of the winners of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. The grant program, along with other INET initiatives, was created in direct response to arguably the worst economic crisis in world history, and has been designed to encourage and support new economic thinking. Starting in 2011, INET will conduct two grant cycles annually.

The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences defines high achievement in economics, and validates the discipline’s claim for scientific authority. And yet historically, the Prize can be a reflection of domestic policy conflicts in Sweden. In the 1970s-1990s, the prize committee was dominated by Assar Lindbeck and lent authority to his domestic liberal policy agenda. Likewise, outside Sweden, between 1970-1990s, the prize tended to reinforce a market-liberal policy agenda. The project will analyze the extent to which the selection of a Nobel Prize in Economics winner played a role in advancing theoretical and policy agendas in other countries, especially in the USA.

“Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences is a prize that historically commands significant respect and recognition for its recipients and their work,” said Dr. Robert Johnson, Executive Director of INET. “This project is a courageous investigation into potential political influences upon the selection of winners and the subsequent impacts of these selections on economic theory and policy.”

“The research problem focuses on the influence of economic doctrines that has worked to discredit government in the name of efficiency norms. The authority of the doctrines was enhanced by the creation of the Prize in Economics by the Swedish Central Bank, and more so after its incorporation into the Nobel procedure. The project strives to locate the origins of the Prize in the conflict between Swedish economists and their successful welfare state,” said Avner Offer, Chichele Professor of Economic History, University of Oxford. “The INET grant will make it possible for us to construct an economics citation database, to investigate Swedish-language source materials, to visit European and North American archives, to re-examine the work of the laureates, and to write up our findings for publication. This study will specify the role of the Prize in validating economic doctrines, and will provide a more skeptical overview of the achievement of economics since the 1970s.”

Avner Offer is Chichele Professor of Economic History at the University of Oxford; Philip Mirowski is Carl Koch Professor of Economics and the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Notre Dame; Gabriel Soderberg is completing a doctoral dissertation in Economic History at Uppsala University in Sweden.

INET’s Inaugural Grant Program has been designed to harness the new economic thinking we recognize as crucial to effecting change. The program was launched this summer and received more than 500 applications from around the world and has selected 33 initiatives to be awarded grants totaling $7 million. INET's Grant Program will continue with two similar grant cycles annually, the next one commencing in the spring of 2011.

For further details regarding INET’s Grant Program or additional projects and people to be awarded grants please visit the Institute’s website.

About the Institute for New Economic Thinking:
Launched in October 2009 with a $50 million commitment from George Soros and driven by the global financial crisis, the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) is dedicated to empowering and supporting the next generation of economists and scholars in related fields through research grants, Task Force groups, academic partnerships, and conferences. INET embraces the professional responsibility to think beyond current paradigms. Ultimately, INET is committed to broadening and accelerating the development of innovative thinking that can lead to insights into and solutions for the great challenges of the 21st century and return economics to its core mission of guiding and protecting society. For more information please visit http://www.ineteconomics.org/

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Institute for New Economic Thinking
Bill Fallon
212 925 6900
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