We are pleased to launch the next interview in the Economist Life Stories Project: Sense and Economics: An Oral History with Arnold Harberger. This oral history with Arnold Harberger was conducted in seven day-long sessions in Los Angeles, CA from the fall of 2015 to the fall of 2016. Dr. Harberger is the Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, University of Chicago and Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of California, Los Angeles. He is perhaps most widely known for overseeing the USAID Chile Project, which trained Chilean students in economics who then went on to found programs in economics and take up positions in the Chilean government. However, that story is merely one in Dr. Harberger’s sixty-five-year career in technical assistance and education around the world. He has consulted for the US government, numerous individual nation states, as well as institutions such as the US Agency for International Development, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. Of equal importance is his career as a scholar, from his training and interest in international trade to his work in public finance, especially project evaluation and benefit-cost analysis. Throughout, this oral history explores his lifelong pursuit of “real-world economics,” research that both draws from and supports economic policymaking.
Financial support for this work was provided by Richard Elden, a member of the Becker Friedman Institute Council, whose contribution is gratefully acknowledged.
Although this project focuses on the leaders and students of the University of Chicago Department of Economics, the Graduate School of Business, and the Law School, we hope to add more stories from economists around the world as the project expands.