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A Century of Risk, Uncertainty, and Profit

By Ross Emmett

In 1917, Frank Knight submitted an essay entitled "Cost, Value, and Profit" to Hart, Schaffner, and Marx as part of an essay contest whose aim was "to draw the attention of American youth to the study of economic and commercial subjects."1 Knight's essay ended up winning second place. First place went to E. E. Lincoln, for his study of The Results of Municipal Electrical Lighting in Massachusetts, a very good example of institutional economists' interest in the intersection of industrial studies and public administration which received several nice reviews. Both first and second place manuscripts were entitled by the terms of the essay prize to be published. Lincoln's book was published immediately after the contest, appearing in 1918. Knight, on the other hand, heavily revised his manuscript at least once more while he taught during 1917-1919 at the University of Chicago and then again between 1919 and 1921 at the University of Iowa. When Risk, Uncertainty and Profit was published in ...

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