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ASU professor begins term as president of History of Economics Society

Ross Emmett will serve for two years as president of the society, having already served two years as the elected vice president

portrait of ASU Professor Ross Emmett

Ross Emmett, director of ASU’s Center for the Study of Economic Liberty and professor at the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership.

September 01, 2021

Ross Emmett, director of Arizona State University’s Center for the Study of Economic Liberty and professor at the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, recently began his term as president of the History of Economics Society, an organization dedicated to “encouraging interest, fostering scholarship and promoting discussion among scholars and professionals in the field of history of economics and related disciplines.”

Following the organization’s constitutional guidelines, Emmett will serve for two years as president of the society, having already served two years as the elected vice president. According to Emmett, this allows the society’s elected officials a reasonable time in office for accomplishment of their most important duty: planning and hosting conferences that provide a forum for established and young scholars to advance new ideas and research. Young scholars can apply for funding for the conference through the Warren and Sylvia Samuels Fund, a resource dedicated to the promotion of young academics. 

Emmett sees the History of Economics Society conferences as a great opportunity to “provide mentorship to young scholars … and have senior scholars comment on their scholarship.” As a young scholar, Emmett won best dissertation in 1992 for his work, “The Economist as Philosopher: Frank H. Knight and American Social Science During the Twenties and Thirties.”

More than 300 international members of the History of Economics Society will be invited to meet in Vancouver, British Columbia, in January 2023 to discuss research materials and papers in the conference curated by Emmett and his team. Conference sessions and themes are organized around papers and research proposals submitted well in advance of the meeting; this approach allows for submissions from a broad range of thoughts and ideas, rather than responses to a prescriptive call. 

Per Emmett: “We want everyone to attend. We get Marxists and libertarians, conservatives and liberals, historians and philosophers.” Emmett, a self-described member of "the dismal science," corrected the author’s admiration for this egalitarian approach, insisting that pragmatism is the driving factor. He is an economist, after all.

Since joining ASU in 2018, Emmett has taught three different history of economics-related courses and is regularizing a cross-listed history of economic thought course with the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and the W. P. Carey Department of Economics. As director of the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty, Emmett organized and held the Winter Institute for the History of Economic Thought in 2019 and 2020, and he is planning for the 2022 offering. Additionally, center researchers publish an annual report titled “Doing Business North America," a project that “annually provides objective measures of the scale and scope of business regulations in 130 cities across 92 states, provinces and federal districts of the U.S., Canada and Mexico. It uses these measures to score and rank cities in regard to how easy or difficult it is to set up, operate and shut down a business.”

A fuller description of Emmett’s research and teaching can be found in his ASU profile

Most recently, Emmett has started a new research program, Economists on the Indigenous Peoples of North America, with the first foray into the subject being a paper titled “Frank Amasa Walker and the Indigenous Peoples of North America.” This will be presented at the January 2022 Allied Social Science Association meeting, which is the largest gathering of economists globally, with more than 13,000 attendees.

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