The Future of the History of Economics in Australia - ONLINE ONLY


From: Thursday July 2, 2020, 1:00 pm

To: Thursday July 2, 2020, 2:00 pm

You are invited to join us for this webinar.  


The history of economics is important part of economics research and teaching:  

  • History brings a rich set of ideas to contemporary economist’s table.
  • History helps us realise how much the ways we look at economic problems has changed over time, making us more open to different ways of looking at current problems.
  • History shows us how theories and policy responses have emerged in particular contexts, so we can understand them better and be wiser users.    
  • History connects economics to other disciplines and encourages openness to other perspectives.

Australian economics degrees in past decades have included history of economics courses taught at a high level, for instance the famous Economic Classicscourse taken by the honours students at University of Sydney, many of whom have gone on to positions of influence in profession. Australia also has disproportionate research strength in the field. It has contributed to the diversity and innovative character of Australian economic thinking, especially in macroeconomics, labour economics, and international economics.  

However the future of research and teaching history of economics in Australia is under threat.  Courses being eliminated despite strong student interest, PhDs training is declining, economics departments are not replacing retiring historians of economics, and the Centre for the Study of the History of Economics at University of Sydney has lapsed after the leaving the discipline without a focus for research and postgraduate supervision within a major Australian. 

What are the causes of the decline in research and teaching history of economics in Australia? How do its fortunes compare to related fields such as economic history, history of management, and history of science? Is the history of economics necessarily associated with heterodox schools of economics? Is the history of economics worth saving?  What can be done?


Chair and Organiser - Paul Oslington, Professor of Economics, Alphacrucis College, Sydney.

Professor Paul Oslington works mostly on the history of economics, especially relationships between economic and religious thought.  He completed his PhD in econometrics at University of Sydney and DTheol through University of Divinity.  He is a member of the Economic Society of Australia (NSW) Council and former Vice-President.



Panel Members

Professor John Lodewijks, Professor of Economics and Vice-President Academic, SP Jain School of Global Management and Adjunct Professor, University of NSW. John is a graduate of Sydney University, UNE and Duke University, former Head of the Department of Economics at UNSW and Head of the School of Economics and Finance  at the University of Western Sydney. He has published widely on the history of economics and the economics profession.



Dr Claire Wright, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Management, Macquarie University.

Claire completed her PhD at University of Wollongong in the history of economics, and writes on networks, intellectual communities and knowledge creation. Her current research is on interlocking directorships in Australian corporations.



Professor Hugh Harley, University of Sydney.  Hugh studied economics at the University of Sydney and University of Cambridge, and has had a distinguished business career, including as Financial Services Leader Asia-Pacific for PwC, and senior roles with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.  He is currently Professor of Practice in Global Economy at the University of Sydney, where his teaching focuses on the development of the global economy over the past millenium and on the Australian economy.  He was previously Adjunct Professor at Sydney University Business School.




Aspromourgos, Anthony (2003). “Peter Groenewegen: A Life (Unfinished!) of Scholarship.” History of Economic Review  37: 1-18

Brennan, Geoffrey (2014). “HET: A Double Lament.” with comments by John Lodewijks and Paul Oslington.  History of Economics Review.

Caldwell, Bruce (2012). Why Economics Needs the History of Thought  INET Interview.

Goodwin, Craufurd D. (2008). "History of Economic Thought" in New Palgraveedited by S. Durlaf and L. Blume. London, Palgrave Macmillan.

Groenewegen, Peter D. and B. McFarlane (1990). A History of Australian Economic Thought London, Routledge.

Kates, S. and A. Millmow (2008). “The History Wars of Economics: The Classification Struggle in the History of Economic Thought.” History of Economics Review  47(Winter ): 110-24.

King, John Ed. (2007) Biographical Dictionary of Australian and New Zealand Economists Elgar.

King, John (2013) “Case for Pluralism in Economics” Ec and Labour Relations Rev24(1): 17-31.

Lodewijks, John (2002). “The History of Economic Thought in Australia and New Zealand.” History of Political Economy  34: 154-64.

Lodewijks, John (2004). "HOPE in the Antipodes" in History and Political Economy: Essays in Honour of P. D. Groenewegen,edited by A. Aspromourgos and J. Lodewijks. London Routledge: 245-55.

Lodewijks, John (2014). “The History of Economics ‘Down-Under’: Repulsing the Barbarians at the Gate.” in Reclaiming Pluralism: Role of History of Economic Thought in Heterodoxy - Essays in Honour of John E. King;edited by J. Courvisanos, J. Doughney and A. Millmow. London, Routledge.

Lodewijks, John and Tony Stokes (2014). “Is Academic Economics Withering in Australia?” Agenda  21(1): 69-88.

Millmow, Alex (2010). “The Changing Sociology of the Australian Academic Economics Profession.” Economic Papers  29(1): 87–95.

Millmow, Alex (2017). A History of Australasian Economic ThoughtRoutledge.

Schabas, Margaret (1992). “Breaking Away: History of Economics as History of Science.” History of Political Economy  24(1): 187-203.

Viner, Jacob (1950). A Modest Proposal for Some Stress on Scholarship in Graduate Training Address before the Graduate Convocation, Brown University, June 3, 1950. Reprinted in The Long View and the Short  and Essays on the Intellectual History of Economics edited by Douglas Irwin

Weintraub, E. Roy, Ed. (2002).  Future of the History of Economics. Durham, Duke U Press.

Winch, Donald (2009). “Intellectual History and the History of Economic Thought: A Personal View.” History of Economics Review  50(Summer): 1-16.



Economic Society of Australia     Please join if you are not already a member.

History of Economic Thought Society of Australia

The next History of Economic Thought Society of Australia conference will be held in Melbourne in 2021.   The Society publishes History of Economics Review

History of Economics Society

Duke University Centre for the History of Political Economy.    The leading Centre in the field, led by Bruce Caldwell.  It publishes the journal History of Political Economy.

Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand

Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) is investing in renewing the field in the US.

Registration and Joining the Webinar

Register via the NSW Branch website.

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