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Today's debates about economic policy often center on national prosperity. A stimulus bill will jumpstart the nation's economy. Infrastructure investments will boost the gross domestic product. Tax cuts will spur economic growth. These debates echo a shift in economic thinking that occurred in 17th-century England, when members of a rising commercial class began publishing works on trade and finance in order to influence government policy. In arguing for their preferred policies, these writers generated a new economic discourse — one that emphasized national growth and prosperity and set the stage for today's discipline of economics.

Emily Erikson, Associate Professor of Sociology at Yale and Academic Director of the Fox International Fellowship, examines this revolution in economic thinking, focusing on the years between 1570 and 1720 in her latest book, Trade and Nation: How Companies and Politics Reshaped Economic Thought. On February 24, Professor Erikson will give a virtual talk discussing her book and the rise of modern economic thought.


  • Emily Erikson (Associate Professor of Sociology at Yale University)

    Emily Erikson

    Associate Professor of Sociology at Yale University

    Emily Erikson is the Joseph C. Fox Academic Director of the Yale Fox International Fellowship and associate professor of sociology and at the school of management (by courtesy). She conducts research in the fields of social networks, comparative historical sociology, organizations, theory, and economic sociology. Her books include Trade and Nation: How Companies and Politics Reshaped Economic Thought (Columbia University Press) and Between Monopoly and Free Trade: The English East India Company (Princeton University Press).

    Erikson is chair of the American Sociological Association’s economic sociology section and serves on the executive council for the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics, the editorial board for Social Science History and Sociological Theory, the executive council of the Social Science History Association, and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Senate of Yale University. Her work has appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, Annual Review of Sociology, Sociology Theory, The Journal of Economic History, and Social Science History, among others.

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