Robert Fogel


Robert Fogel

Infobox Scientist
name = Robert Fogel


caption =
birth_date = Birth date and age|1926|7|1|mf=y
birth_place = New York City, New York, U.S.
nationality = United States
field = Economics
work_institution = Johns Hopkins University
University of Rochester
University of Chicago
Harvard University
alma_mater = Columbia University
Johns Hopkins University
doctoral_advisor = Evsey Domar
doctoral_students = Kenneth Sokoloff
known_for = Economic history
prizes = Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (1993)
religion =
footnotes =

Robert William Fogel (born July 1, 1926) is an American economic historian and scientist, and winner (with Douglass North) of the 1993 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. He is best known as a leading advocate of cliometrics, a name for the use of quantitative methods in history.

Fogel was born in New York City, the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants, where he graduated from the prestigious Stuyvesant High School in 1944. [cite magazine |url=http://magazine.uchicago.edu/0726/features/human.shtml |title=The human equation |first=Lydialyle |lsat=Gibson |journal=The University of Chicago Magazine |publisher=University of Chicago |month=May/June |year=2007 |volume=99 |issue=5 |accessdate=2007-10-31] He went on to attend Cornell University where he majored in history, with an economics minor, and became president of the campus branch of American Youth for Democracy, a communist organization. After graduating with a BA in 1948, he became a professional organizer for the Communist Party. After rejecting communism, he earned his MA at Columbia University in 1960 and PhD from Johns Hopkins University in 1963. Fogel has taught at Johns Hopkins (1958-1959), the University of Rochester (1960-1965 and 1968-1975), the University of Chicago (1964-1975 and 1981-) and Harvard University (1975-1981). Fogel married Enid Cassandra Morgan in 1949 and has two children.

Fogel's first major study involving cliometrics was "Railroads and American Economic Growth: Essays in Econometric History" (1964). This tract sought to quantify railroads' contribution to U.S. economic growth in the nineteenth century. Its argument and method were each rebuttals to a long line of non-numeric historical arguments that had ascribed much to railroads without rigorous reference to economic data. Examining transportation costs for primary and secondary goods, Fogel compared the actual 1890 economy to a hypothetical 1890 economy in which transportation infrastructure was limited to wagons, canals and rivers. The difference in cost (or "social savings") attributable to railroads was negligible - about 1%. This conclusion made a controversial name for cliometics.

Fogel's most famous and controversial work is "," (1974) a two-volume quantitative study of American slavery co-written with Stanley Engerman. In the book, Fogel and Engerman argue that slaves in the American South lived better than did many industrial workers in the North. Fogel based this analysis largely on plantation records and claimed that slaves worked less, were better fed and were whipped only occasionally. "Time on the Cross" created a fire-storm of controversy, and many mistakenly considered Fogel an apologist for slavery. In fact, Fogel objected to slavery on moral grounds; he thought that on purely economic grounds, slavery was not unprofitable or inefficient as previous historians had argued, such as Ulrich B. Phillips.

A survey of economic historians concludes that 48% "agreed" and another 24% "agreed with provisos" with Fogel and Engerman's argument that "slave agriculture was efficient compared with free agriculture." In addition, 23% "agreed" and 35% "agreed with provisos" with their argument that "the material (rather than psychological) conditions of the lives of slaves compared favorably with those of free industrial workers in the decades before the Civil War."

More recently, Fogel has come under fire in some circles for being an apologist for the Chinese government. In the abstract for a working paper, he claimed:

"In 2040, the Chinese economy will reach $123 trillion, or nearly three times the output of the entire globe in the year 2000, despite the influence of several potential political and economic constraints. India's economy will also continue to grow, although significant constraints (both political and economic) will keep it from reaching China's levels. The projected decline of the EU15's global share of GDP means that Asia will be poised to take up the role of promoting liberal democracy across the globe."

Fogel's continuing work includes recent papers on health care and Asian economies.

Work

*"The Union Pacific Railroad: A Case in Premature Enterprise", 1960.
*"Railroads and American Economic Growth: Essays in Econometric History", 1964.
*"Time on the Cross: The Economics of American Negro Slavery", 2 volumes, 1974. (co-written with Stanley Engerman)
*"Without Consent or Contract: The Rise and Fall of American Slavery", 2 volumes, 1989.
*"Economic Growth, Population Theory and Physiology: The Bearings of Long-Term Processes on the Making of Economic Policy", 1994.
* "The Slavery Debates, 1952-1990: A Retrospective" . Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2003. 106 pp. ISBN 0-8071-2881-3.
* "The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism" Chicago: University of Chicago, 2002
*"The Escape from Hunger and Premature Death, 1700-2100: Europe, America, and the Third World". New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004. 189pp. ISBN 0-521-80878-2.

References

*cite journal |author=Conrad, Alfred H.; Meyer, John R. |year=1958 |month= |title=The Economics of Slavery in the Ante Bellum South |journal=Journal of Political Economy |volume=66 |issue=2 |pages=95–130 |doi=10.1086/258020 |url= |accessdate= |quote=
*cite book |title=Reckoning with Slavery: A Critical Study in the Quantitative History of American Negro Slavery |last=David |first=Paul |authorlink= |coauthors="et al." |year=1976 |publisher=Oxford University Press |location=New York |isbn=0195020340 |pages=
*cite book |title=Strategic Factors in the Nineteenth Century American Economic History: A Volume to Honor Robert W. Fogel |author=Goldin, Claudia; Rockoff, Hugh [edd.] |year=1992 |publisher=University of Chicago Press |location=Chicago |isbn=0226301125 |pages=
*cite book |title=Slavery: History and Historians |last=Parish |first=Peter |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=1989 |publisher=Harper |location=New York |isbn=0064370011 |pages=
*cite journal |last=Whaples |first=Robert |year=1995 |month= |title=Where Is There Consensus among American Economic Historians? The Results of a Survey on Forty Propositions |journal=Journal of Economic History |volume=55 |issue=1 |pages=139–154 |id= |url=http://www.jstor.org/pss/2123771 |accessdate= |quote=

External links

* [http://nobelprize.org/economics/laureates/1993/fogel-autobio.html Nobel prize autobiography]
* [http://www.instapundit.com/lawrev/jurimlivelong2.htm Review of Fogel's "Escape from Hunger and Premature Death"]
* [http://eh.net/bookreviews/library/davis.shtml Lance Davis review essay on Fogel's "Railroads and American Economic Growth"]
* [http://eh.net/bookreviews/library/weiss.shtml Thomas Weiss review essay on Fogel and Engerman's "Time on the Cross"]
* [http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2006/11/engerman_on_sla.html Podcast Interview with co-author Stanley Engerman on "Time on the Cross"] on EconTalk at Econlib
* [http://ideas.repec.org/e/pfo15.html RePEc (Research Papers in Economics)] updated information about Robert W. Fogel
* [http://magazine.uchicago.edu/0726/features/human.shtml Feature article in The University of Chicago magazine]
* [http://ideas.repec.org/e/pfo15.html IDEAS/RePEc]


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