Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Origin of Our Species


"Nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit, id est semper esse puerum. Quid enim est aetas hominis, nisi ea memoria rerum veterum cum superiorum aetate contexitur?" (Marcus Tullius Cicero, 46 B.C.)
For those of you whose Latin is a little rusty (or maybe you missed the benefits of a classical education), this translates to:
"Not to know what happened before you were born is to be a child forever. For what is the time of a man, except it be interwoven with that memory of ancient things of a superior age?"
In other words, it's worth knowing where you came from - and this includes econometricians!

The Econometric Society was founded following a meeting of  a group of eminent empirically-oriented economists at the Statler Hotel in Cleveland, OH, on 29 December 1930. The names of the members of that founding group can be found in the various histories of the Society, such as those written by Christ (1983), Bjerkholt (1995), and Gordon (1997). More general treatments of the birth and development of Econometrics as a discipline in its own right are provided by Morgan (1990), and other authors.

Economists and statisticians from the Scandinavian countries played a major role in the emergence of Econometrics. Some of their names are very well known, including the Nobel laureates Ragnar Frisch and Trygve Haavelmo, both from Norway. Less widely known is the Danish economist and statistician, Edvard Mackeprang, whose doctoral thesis (Mackeprang, 1906) translates to Price Theories. K√¶rgaard (1984) provides a fascinating account of this early Danish influence on our profession.