Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Doug North

My friend Tawni Hunt Ferrarini told me this morning that Doug North passed away last night. Douglass C. North was, of course, a Nobel Memorial Prize winner in Economics. I first, discovered his work while I was a graduate student in economic history at the London School of Economics in 1984-85. I read “A Framework for Analyzing the State in Economic History” published in a special issue of Explorations in Economic History dedicated to his dissertation adviser M.M. Knight. I still love the way he used such a simple model to think about such a complicated problem. When I decided to go back to graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in economics, I wanted to study with him. I became his research assistant and he was the chair of my dissertation committee. He was everything I had hoped for as a professor and more than I could have imagined as a human being. I felt like I had won the lottery. I still feel that way.

I wanted to write about what he meant to me, both intellectually and as a friend, but I can’t. Maybe another day I will, but not today. 

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