James Laurence Laughlin, 1850-1933.

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The American arch-conservative economist J. Laurence Laughlin studied under Charles Dunbar at Harvard and later dropped out of academia to make a small fortune in the insurance business. He returned to teach at Cornell and been there a scarce two years before the newly-created University of Chicago invited him, in 1892, to form its first economics department. Surprisingly, he appointed several institutionalists to the department - notably his old student at Cornell, Thorstein Veblen, whom he put at the head of Chicago's Journal of Political Economy. However, Laughlin remained an avid free-marketeer and refused to become a member of the American Economic Association. Laughlin's reputation rests on his work in monetary economics. He was a vocal opponent to bimetallism and one of the more avid promoters of the Federal Reserve system.

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