計量経済学会 (The Econometric Society)

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1920 年代は、新古典派理論家であるのはなかなかつらいことだった。特に数学的な指向を持った人々にとっては。限界革命はこの頃にはもうジリ貧だった。制度学派歴史学派がアメリカでも大陸ヨーロッパでも、経済学を牛耳っていた。イギリスでは、経済学ははっきりと数学を避けることにしたマーシャル派が強かった。当時の数少ない数学的な頭の新古典派経済学者は、世界中に散らばってだれがだれかもわからない。英語圏では、アーヴィング・フィッシャーが長いこと新古典派の形式主義を擁護する唯一の声となって久しかった。1912 年に、かれは数理経済学者を学会に集めて専門性向上を図ろうとしたけれど、失敗に終わった。

 その間、数理経済学を世に報せるルートも育たなかった。イタリアのGiornale degli economistiを例外として、ほとんどの経済学雑誌は、数学的な内容の論文を刊行することに反対する編集方針を明示的か暗示的に持っていた。ジェラール・ドブリューによれば、「American Economic Reviewの1933 年版を全部あわせても、数学記号が登場するページはたった 4 ページしかなくて、そのうち 2 ページは書評だった」そうな (Debreu, 1991)。

 1928 年に、若きラグナー・フリッシュとチャールズ・F・ルースにせっつかれて、フィッシャーはまたも数理経済学者のための学会の問題に取り組んだ。フィッシャーは、その発起人となる経済学者が百人見つかればそれを支持しようと言った。フリッシュとルースは、見込みで 80 人しか見つけられなかった。フィッシャー、フリッシュ、ルースが署名した手紙が、1930 年の 6 月にその 80 人に発送されて、それが可能かどうかを調べ、他に会員の見込みがないか示唆を得ようとした。フリッシュは「econometrie」ということばを 1926 年に思いついて、いろんな綴りをずいぶんあーでもないこーでもないと迷った挙げ句に (e.g. "Oekonometrika", "Econometrika", 等々)、"Econometric Society" (計量経済学会) に落ち着いたのだった。

On December 29th, 1930, sixteen people (Frisch, Roos, Joseph A. Schumpeter, Harold Hotelling, Henry Schultz, Karl Menger, Edwin B. Wilson, Frederick C. Mills, William F. Ogburn, J. Harvey Rogers, Malcolm C. Rorty, Carl Snyder, W. A. Shewhart, Oystein Ore, Ingvar Wedervang and Norbert Wiener) gathered at the Stalton Hotel in Cleveland, Ohio and founded "The Econometric Society, an International Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory in its Relation with Statistics and Mathematics". Aptly, its first academic meetings were held in September 1931 in Lausanne, Switzerland. It had 173 charter members.

The Constitution of the society, largely written by Frisch, was almost guild-like in its structure, a self-perpetuating society of "Fellows" who nominated the scholars that were to enter into their ranks. Membership was wider, but all power remained in the hands of the Fellows. The Fellows elect the ruling Council. The Econometric Society's first president was Irving Fisher and its first council members included Frisch, Roos, Schumpeter, Wilson, Luigi Amoroso, Ladislaus von Bortkiewicz, Arthur Bowley, François Divisia and Wl. Zadawsky.

The idea for a journal came up. The question of whether it would "ghettoize" mathematical economics was hotly debated, but it was the question of financing was particularly knotty. In 1931, the American businessman, Alfred Cowles, offered to help finance the entire venture. Cowles had also offered to fund an "Econometric Foundation" which, after some resistance, eventually became the separate Cowles Commission. Cowles, however, stayed on to serve as treasurer and circulation manager for the Econometric Society. For a while, the Econometric Society and the Cowles Commission shared the same offices in Colorado Springs.

The journal, Econometrica, was launched in January 1933 with Ragnar Frisch as Editor-in-Chief and a circulation of 300. Articles could be submitted in English or French (and occasionally German) and there were no restraints on the degree of mathematical content. There was a sufficiently large backlog of mathematical economics papers to make its first few issues relatively large. But this pool quickly dried up. Two other journals, the Vienna-based Zeitschrift für National(゚konomie (refounded 1929) and the Review of Economic Studies (founded 1933 by L.S.E. students) competed for papers on high theory.

As such, Econometrica quickly became surprisingly thin. To "bulk it up" -- and to bring mathematical economics to a wider audience -- Frisch commissioned a series of famous yearly surveys on Equilibrium Theory, Business Cycle Theory, Statistical Techniques and Statistical Information. After a few famous initial contributions (e.g. Marschak (1933), Tinbergen (1935), Hicks (1935), Frisch (1936)), these were eventually discontinued as regular pieces, although occasional surveys continued to be commissioned for the next half-century (e.g. the famous Negishi (1962) survey on stability). Frisch also commissioned a series of articles on famous mathematical economists, thus we find the classic pieces by ナkerman on Wicksell, Roy on Cournot, Schneider on von Thunen, Hicks on Walras, Bowley on Edgeworth and, perhaps most controversially, Amoroso on Pareto. Also, important historical pieces such as the Jevons-Walras correspondence and Slutsky's 1915 article were reprinted.

Of the main events of the 1930s, a good part of the Paretian Revival was partly played out in Econometrica (e.g. Hotelling, 1938, Lange, 1942, etc.), it was also the home of Kalecki's first English-language publication (1935) and Hicks contributed his famous 1937 "Mr Keynes and Classics" whopper in it. But perhaps its most immediately significant piece was Haavelmo's 1944 "Probability Approach" paper which laid the foundation for modern econometrics.

During World War II, Econometrica foundered a bit as European universities were thrown in an upheaval and many mathematical economists scattered. From 1942 to 1946, Oskar Lange took over temporarily as editor because Frisch, then in German-occupied Norway, had been unable to continue his duties (the University of Oslo was closed and Frisch sat in prison for one year).

The late 1940s and early 1950s saw an explosion in mathematical economics -- much of it arising from the research programs that stemmed in part from the Cowles Commission. Besides the "Cowles" approach to econometrics, the most significant was the launch of Neo-Walrasian general equilibrium theory. Famous papers in this line, like the famous Arrow and Debreu (1954) and McKenzie (1959) existence theorems and the series of Arrow-Hurwicz papers of the late 1950s-early 1960s on stability theory were published in Econometrica.

The prestige of the Econometric Society and Econometrica rose over time, both driving and echoing the increasing mathematization of the discipline as a whole. Many have viewed this movement as having gone too far, to the point to which Econometrica has became inaccessible to most economists. This has been a perennial source of semi-serious cracks, e.g. Evsey Domar's argument that "the only connection I have with econometricians is the $8 I pay every year for their incomprehensible journal. Joan Robinson, invited in 1958 to the council of the Econometric Society declined, noting that she could not very well serve as an overseer of a journal she could not read.

Frisch's tenure as Editor-in-Chief Econometrica lasted until 1955, but the imprint he left at the journal was deep.かれが去ってから Econometrica は抽象理論経済学や計量経済学から離れ、もっと応用的な実証研究に向かうようになった。この流れは、時には揺らぐこともあったけれど、本質的には今日まで続いている。

 今日では、計量経済学会のフェローに選ばれるとか Econometrica に論文が載るというのは、専門経済学者にとって最高の名誉の一つとして広く認識されている。これはずいぶんと珍妙な話ではあるけれど、アメリカ最高の経済学部の一部では、助手や助教授は Econometrica に少なくとも一本は論文が載らない限り、終身職を得る見込みはまったくないよ、と言われるそうだ。でも、まさにこうした「制度化」は、学会と同誌の初期に感じられた、世を救う難問や科学進歩に向けたエネルギーが、いまやずいぶんなくなってしまったということを意味している。たとえば多くの経済学者は、Journal of Economic Theory, Economic TheoryJournal of Mathematical Economics なんかのほうが、呼んでいておもしろい内容が多いと思うはずだ。

Resources on the Econometric Society


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