2015 TEC Lectureship on Europe and the World with Joel Mokyr, Northwestern University



Joel Mokyr, Northwestern University

Date and Time

May 20, 2015 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
May 21, 2015 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM



Open to the public.

RSVP required by 5PM May 19.


The Bechtel Conference Center
Encina Hall
616 Serra Street

This year's TEC Lectureship on Europe and the World will feature a series of two lectures given by Joel Mokyr, the Robert H. Strotz Professor of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Economics and History at Northwestern University and Sackler Professor (by special appointment) at the Eitan Berglas School of Economics at the University of Tel Aviv.  The talk titles are listed below.


Wednesday May 20th
"Culture of Growth: Origins of the Modern Economy"
(also the title of his forthcoming book)

Why and how did the modern economy emerge? An understanding of the origins of Modern Economic Growth that started with the Industrial Revolution requires a more complete analysis of the growth of the “useful arts” (applied science and technology) in Europe before the Industrial Revolution between 1500 and 1700. The cultural beliefs of the educated elite changed dramatically in this era. An economic approach to cultural change sheds considerable light on what changed in this era that made the modern economy possible.



Thursday May 21st
"Long-Term Economic Change in China and Europe: The Needham Paradox Revisited"

Many eminent scholars have argued for decades now on the origins and causes of the “Great Divergence” between Europe and China. Cultural factors that determined the big difference in the  willingness to engage in and accept intellectual innovation and scientific research in practical application played an important role and created the “Needham Puzzle.” An economic analysis of the roots of this cultural gap shows how it came about and what its effects were on long-term economic development.

Please plan to stay for the reception immediately following the May 21st lecture



Professor Joel Mokyr, Northwestern University


Joel Mokyr specializes in economic history and the economics of technological change and population change. He is the author of Why Ireland Starved: An Analytical and Quantitative Study of the Irish Economy, The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress, The British Industrial Revolution: An Economic Perspective, The Gifts of Athena: Historical Origins of the Knowledge Economy, and The Enlightened Economy. His most recent book is A Culture of Growth, to be published by Princeton University Press and Penguin in 2016. He has authored over 80 articles and books in his field. He has served as the senior editor of the Journal of Economic History from 1994 to 1998, and was editor in chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Economic History (published in July 2003), and still serves as editor in chief of a book series, the Princeton University Press Economic History of the Western World. He served as President of the Economic History Association 2003-04, President of the Midwest Economics Association in 2007/08, and is a director of the National Bureau of Economic Research. He serves as chair of the advisory committee of the Institutions, Organizations, and Growth program of the Canadian Institute of Advanced Research. He served as chair of the Economics Department at Northwestern University between 1998 and 2001 and was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford between Sept. 2001 and June 2002.

Professor Mokyr has an undergraduate degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a Ph.D. from Yale University. He has taught at Northwestern since 1974, and has been a visiting Professor at many universites, including Harvard, the University of Chicago, Stanford, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a foreign fellow of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences, the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei and a Fellow of the Econometric Society and the Cliometric Society. His books have won a number of important prizes including the Joseph Schumpeter memorial prize (1990), the Ranki prize for the best book in European Economic history and more recently the Donald Price Prize of the American Political Science Association. In 2006 he was awarded the biennial Heineken Prize by the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences for a lifetime achievement in historical science. He is currently working on the intellectual and institutional origins of modern economic growth and the way they interacted with technological elements. His current other research is an attempt to apply insights from evolutionary theory to long-run changes in technological knowledge and economic history.

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