Douglass North, RIP
By David Henderson
My Hoover colleague Doug North died yesterday at age 95. Here’s his bio in The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics.
And here’s a statement issued by the Hoover Institution:
STATEMENT BY TOM GILLIGAN
DIRECTOR, HOOVER INSTITUTION, STANFORD UNIVERSITY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
STANFORD, CA: “Today we mourn the loss of a great friend and economist, Douglass North. A recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, Doug is credited with transforming [the study of] economic development in the United States and Europe in connection with the industrial revolution. Our thoughts and condolences are with Doug’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
Douglass C. North was the Hoover Institution’s Bartlett Burnap Senior Fellow with his areas of research including property rights, transaction costs, economic organization in history, theory of the state, free rider problem, ideology, growth of government, economic and social change, and a theory of institutional change.
North received the Nobel Prize in economics in 1993. He was elected a fellow of the British Academy in July 1996 and was installed as the Spencer T. Olin Professor in Arts and Sciences at Washington University in Saint Louis in October 1996. He was appointed Luce Professor of Law and Liberty in the Department of Economics at Washington University in the fall of 1983 and was director of the Center in Political Economy from December 1984 through June 1990. In April 1985, he was appointed editor of the Cambridge series of books and monographs on The Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions.
North’s appointments at Washington University in Saint Louis follow thirty-two years at the University of Washington at Seattle, where he was director of the Institute for Economic Research for five years and chairman for twelve years. He was the Peterkin Professor of Political Economics at Rice University in the fall of 1979, Pitt Professor at Cambridge University in England in 1981-82, and a visiting fellow of the center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University in 1987-88. He was editor of the Journal of Economic History for five years and president of the Economic History Association in 1972. He was a twenty-year member of the Board of Directors of the National Bureau of Economic Research until 1986.
In 1987, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has lectured at most major American and European universities and many Asian universities. He is the author of more than fifty articles and eight books. North received his BA in 1942 and his PhD in 1952 from the University of California at Berkeley. He also served as a US Merchant Marine from 1942 to 1946 and was an instructor in celo-navigation from 1944 to 1946.
Incidentally, he told me once that when he was a child he visited Herbert Hoover in the White House.