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Deirdre Nansen McCloskey (born September 11, 1942), is the Distinguished Professor of Economics, History, English, and Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She is also adjunct professor of Philosophy and Classics there, and for five years was a visiting Professor of philosophy at Erasmus University, Rotterdam. Since October 2007 she has received six honorary doctorates. In 2013, she received the Julian L. Simon Memorial Award from the Competitive Enterprise Institute for her work examining factors in history that led to advancement in human achievement and prosperity. Her main research interests include the origins of the modern world, the misuse of statistical significance in economics and other sciences, and the study of capitalism, among many others.
McCloskey in November 2014
September 11, 1942
|Alma mater||Harvard University|
|Known for||Economic history of Britain|
|Fields||Libertarian economics, economic history, Cliometrics|
|Thesis||Economic Maturity and Entrepreneurial Decline: British Iron and Steel, 1870–1913 (1970)|
|Doctoral advisor||Alexander Gerschenkron|
Donald N. McCloskey earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Economics at Harvard University. Her dissertation, supervised by Alexander Gerschenkron, on British iron and steel won in 1973 the David A. Wells Prize.
In 1968, McCloskey became an assistant professor of economics at the University of Chicago, where she stayed for 12 years, gaining tenure as an associate professor in economics in 1975, and an associate professorship in history in 1979. Her work at Chicago is marked by her contribution to the cliometric revolution in economic history, and teaching generations of leading economists Chicago Price Theory, a course which culminated in her book The Applied Theory of Price. In 1979, at the suggestion of Wayne Booth in English at Chicago, she turned to the study of rhetoric in economics. Later at the University of Iowa, McCloskey, the John Murray Professor of Economics and of History (1980–99), published The Rhetoric of Economics (1985) and co-founded with John S. Nelson, Allan Megill, and others an institution and graduate program, the Project on Rhetoric of Inquiry. McCloskey has authored 16 books and nearly 400 articles in her many fields.
Her major contributions have been to the economic history of Britain (19th-century trade, modern history, and medieval agriculture), the quantification of historical inquiry (Cliometrics), the rhetoric of economics, the rhetoric of the human sciences, economic methodology, virtue ethics, feminist economics, heterodox economics, the role of mathematics in economic analysis, and the use (and misuse) of significance testing in economics, and, in her trilogy "The Bourgeois Era," the origins of the Industrial Revolution.
Her book The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce was the first of a planned series of books about the world since the Industrial Revolution—the Bourgeois Era—and was published in 2006. McCloskey argued that the bourgeoisie, contrary to its self-advertised faith in prudence only, believes in all seven virtues.
The second, Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World was published in 2010, and argued that the unprecedented increase in human welfare of the 19th and 20th centuries, from three dollars per capita per day to over 100 dollars per day, issued not from capitalist accumulation but from innovation.
The third, Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World appeared in 2016. McCloskey expanded her argument, coining the term "Great Enrichment" to describe the unprecedented gains in human welfare of the 19th and 20th centuries. She reiterated her argument that the enrichment came from innovation and not from accumulation as argued by many from Karl Marx to Thomas Piketty.
McCloskey was born as Donald McCloskey, and this was the name she was known by for the first three decades for her research career. Married for thirty years, and the parent of two children, she made the decision to transition from male to female in 1995, at the age of 53, writing about her experience in a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Crossing: A Memoir (1999, University of Chicago Press). It is an account of her growing recognition of her female identity, and her transition—both surgical and social—into a woman (including her reluctant divorce from her wife). The book describes her new life, following sex-reassignment surgery, continuing her career as a female academic economist.
McCloskey advocates on behalf of the rights of persons and organizations in the LGBT community. She was also a key person in the Blanchard, Bailey, and Lawrence theory controversy and in the debate over J. Michael Bailey's book The Man Who Would Be Queen, both regarding the reasons why transsexual women desire a male to female transformation.
McCloskey has described herself as a "literary, quantitative, postmodern, free-market, progressive Episcopalian, Midwestern woman from Boston who was once a man. Not 'conservative'! I'm a Christian libertarian."
- Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World (April 2016), University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0226333991
- Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World (November 2010), University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0226556659
- The Cult of Statistical Significance: How the Standard Error Costs Us Jobs, Justice, and Lives (January 2008), University of Michigan Press (with Stephen T. Ziliak). ISBN 978-0472050079
- The Bourgeois Virtues : Ethics for an Age of Commerce (June 2006), University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0226556635
- The Economic Conversation (2008) (with Arjo Klamer and Stephen Ziliak) ISBN 978-0230506800
- The Secret Sins of Economics (August 2002), University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0971757530
- Crossing: A Memoir (September 1999). New edition University of Chicago Press, 2000, ISBN 978-0226556697
- Measurement and Meaning in Economics: The Essential Deirdre McCloskey (1999) (edited by Stephen Ziliak) ISBN 978-1852788186
- The Vices of Economists, the Virtues of the Bourgeoisie (1996) ISBN 978-9053562444
- Knowledge and Persuasion in Economics (1994), Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521436038
- Second Thoughts: Myths and Morals of U.S. Economic History (1993) (edited) ISBN 978-0195101188
- A Bibliography of Historical Economics to 1980 (1990) ISBN 978-0521153850
- If You're So Smart: The Narrative of Economic Expertise (1990) ISBN 978-0226556710
- The Consequences of Economic Rhetoric (1988) ISBN 978-0521342865
- The Writing of Economics (1987) reprinted as Economical Writing (2000) ISBN 978-1577660637
- Econometric History (1987) ISBN 978-0333213711
- The Rhetoric of the Human Sciences: Language and Argument in Scholarship and Public Affairs (1987) ISBN 978-0299110246
- The Rhetoric of Economics (1985 & 1998) ISBN 978-0299158149
- The Applied Theory of Price (1982 & 1985) ISBN 978-0023785207
- Enterprise and Trade in Victorian Britain: Essays in Historical Economics (1981) ISBN 978-0415313056
- Economic Maturity and Entrepreneurial Decline: British Iron & Steel, 1870–1913 (1973) ISBN 978-0674428478
- Essays on a Mature Economy: Britain after 1840 (1971) ISBN 978-0691051987
- McCloskey, Deirdre. "Review of Stratton and Brown's agricultural records in Britain". Journal of Economic History. 40 (March 1980): 189.
- McCloskey, Deirdre (May 1985). "The loss function has been mislaid: The rhetoric of significance tests". The American Economic Review, special issue: Papers and Proceedings of the Ninety-Seventh Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association. American Economic Association via JSTOR. 75 (2): 201–205. JSTOR 1805596.
- McCloskey, Deirdre N. (February 1988). "The rhetoric of law and economics". Michigan Law Review. University of Michigan Law School via JSTOR. 86 (4): 752–767. doi:10.2307/1289214. JSTOR 1289214.
- McCloskey, Deirdre (September 1995). "Modern epistemology against analytic philosophy: A reply to Mäki". Journal of Economic Literature. American Economic Association. 33 (3): 1319–1323. JSTOR 2729124.
- McCloskey, Deirdre; Ziliak, Stephen T. (March 1996). "The standard error of regressions". Journal of Economic Literature. American Economic Association. 34 (1): 97–114. JSTOR 2729411.[permanent dead link] Pdf.
- McCloskey, Deirdre (January 1998). "Simulating Barbara". Feminist Economics. Taylor and Francis. 4 (3): 181–186. doi:10.1080/135457098338383.
- McCloskey, Deirdre (Winter 2003). "Other Things Equal: Milton". Eastern Economic Journal. Palgrave Macmillan. 29 (1): 143–146. JSTOR 40326463.
- McCloskey, Deirdre; Ziliak, Stephen T. (2004). "Size matters: The standard error of regressions in the American Economic Review". Econ Journal Watch. Atlas Network. 1 (2): 331–338. Pdf.
- McCloskey, Deirdre (July–August 2009). "Rhetoric matters: Ethical standards in a humanistic science of economics". Challenge. Taylor and Francis. 52 (4): 25–31. doi:10.2753/0577-5132520403. JSTOR 40722588.
- McCloskey, Deirdre N.; Roberts, Helen (July–September 2012). "What economics should we teach before college, if any?". The Journal of Economic Education. Taylor and Francis. 43 (3): 293–299. doi:10.1080/00220485.2012.686396. JSTOR 23248956.
- CV Archived 2014-01-04 at the Wayback Machine.
- McCloskey, Deirdre (May 11, 2011). "Curriculum Vitae of Professor Deirdre Nansen McCloskey". Deirdre McLoskey.com. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
- "Julian L. Simon Memorial Award". Competitive Enterprise Institute. 2014. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
- The Elgar Companion to the Chicago School of Economics
- McCloskey, Deirdre. Measurement and Meaning in Economics: The Essential Deirdre McCloskey, ed. Stephen Thomas Ziliak (Cheltenham, UK, and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2001), 350.
- McCloskey, Deirdre. "The Applied Theory of Price" (PDF). PDF. Deirdre McCloskey.com. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
- "People". Project on Rhetoric of Inquiry (2008–2015). The University of Iowa. Archived from the original on April 11, 2015. Retrieved April 5, 2015.
- Walsh, Matt (December 2, 2013). "Economist Deirdre McCloskey: playing both sides of the street". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved April 5, 2013.
- McCloskey, Deirdre. "Books by Deirdre McCloskey". Deirdre McCloskey.com. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
- McCloskey, Deirdre (2006). Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an age of Commerce. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- "From Donald to Deirdre: How a man became a woman — and what it says about identity". Reason. 1999–2012. Archived from the original on 2008-06-07. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
- Learn Liberty (2015-11-10), Trans Talks: Series Trailer, retrieved 2017-02-12
- Carey, Benedict (2007-08-21). "Criticism of a Gender Theory, and a Scientist Under Siege". New York Times.
- McCloskey, Deirdre. "Informal Biographical Remarks". deirdremccloskey.com. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
- Deirdre McCloskey personal home page
- "Leading Economist Stuns Field by Deciding to Become a Woman"
- In Defense of Extreme Rationalism: Thoughts on Donald McCloskey's The Rhetoric of Economics by Hans-Hermann Hoppe.
- Home page International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE)
- Home page Feminist Economics journal
- IDEAS repository of papers
- Association for Integrity and Responsible Leadership in Economics and Associated Professions
- Roberts, Russ (March 31, 2008). "McCloskey on Capitalism and the Bourgeois Virtues". EconTalk. Library of Economics and Liberty.
- Appearances on C-SPAN