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Mark Perlman has made significant contributions to the field of economics and to the life of the discipline of economics. His creation of the Journal of Economic Literature is both an example of his contribution to the discipline and a symbol of the connecting threads of literateness, breadth of interest, and learning that run through his work.
Born, raised, and largely educated in Madison, Wisconsin, where his father was one of the principal figures of the Wisconsin Institutionalist tradition, Perlman decided early that he would be a professor. He first worked in labor economics and industrial relations, doing comprehensive and original work on American and Australian institutions. Later he worked in public health, demographic economics, and the history of economic thought. All these strands in his work are represented in this volume and add together to show the odyssey of his academic life and his thoughts on the changing nature of the economics discipline. Resistant to labeling either by field or by philosophy, he ultimately sees himself as an economic historian interested in the evolution of the various facets of modern professional economics.
A series of vignettes reveals the character and interests of such figures as G. L. S. Shackle, George Stigler, Simon Kuznets, Jacob Viner, and his father, Selig Perlman. Another distinctive feature of the book is the insights that the author offers about the publishing process gained from his experience both as a journal editor and as a remarkably successful editor of several books.