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Martin Bronfenbrenner: An Economist in the American Occupation of Japan

By Michael Potts

Martin Bronfenbrenner (1914-1997) was one of the last of a generation of generalist economists. His involvement in the U.S. Occupation of Japan changed his life and his career. This paper examines the mutually stabilizing relationship between his persona and his work in light of his experiences in Japan. Access to Bronfenbrenner’s previously restricted and unpublished autobiography archived in the Economists Papers Project at Duke University allows the author to reconstruct, from primary source material, some of the challenges faced by the individual, prewar-trained economist in navigating the postwar transformation of the economics discipline.

Honor’s Thesis

Advisor: E. Roy Weintraub | JEL Codes: B2, B31, N45, N95 | Tagged: U.S. Occupation of Japan, Economic Japanology: Martin Bronfenbrenner

Martin Bronfenbrenner and Japan’s Post-WWII Economic Recovery

By Nitish Basandra

This paper explores the economic recovery of post-World War II Japan through the eyes of the late Duke professor and American economist Martin Bronfenbrenner. Specifically, we address the period of US Occupation from 1947-1952, detailing how Bronfenbrenner sensitized America to Japanese economics. Along the way, Bronfenbrenner faced several obstacles as his loyalty to the US was questioned due to his growing attachment to the Japanese culture and passion for its crisis. Using a methodological approach, we begin with Bronfenbrenner’s initial encounter with a fallen Japan, and conclude with a thorough analysis of his vision for Japan’s reconstruction.

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Advisor: E. Roy Weintraub | Tagged: Economic Relations, Exchange Rates, International Economics, Martin Bronfenbrenner, Occupation, Recovery, Trade, US-Japan

The Miscommunications and Misunderstandings of Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen

By Samuel Iglesias

If there is any takeaway from 1971’s The Entropy Law and the Economic Process, it’s this: beneath every intersection of the supply and demand curve, there’s a slow, but steady, process of environmental degradation. Try as you will to recycle waste materials, the book argues—this process cannot be reversed. A formulation of economics backed with this insight was the life vision of Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, whose work on environmental economics has recently received a new round of academic scrutiny. But one might ask, why wasn’t Georgescu well received the first time around, during his time? This paper explores that topic.

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Advisor: E. Roy Weintraub

The Miscommunications and Misunderstandings of Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen

By Samuel Iglesias

If there is any takeaway from 1971’s The Entropy Law and the Economic Process, it’s this: beneath every intersection of the supply and demand curve, there’s a slow, but steady, process of environmental degradation. Try as you will to recycle waste materials, the book argues—this process cannot be reversed. A formulation of economics backed with this insight was the life vision of Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, whose work on environmental economics has recently received a new round of academic scrutiny. But one might ask, why wasn’t Georgescu well received the first time around, during his time? This paper explores that topic.

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Advisor: E. Roy Weintraub

Engaging with Malthus: Joseph J. Spengler and Economic Demography

By Thomas Aten

This research paper analyzes the development of Joseph J. Spengler’s interpretation of Thomas Robert Malthus’s work through its three stages, first the stage of quantitative analysis, second, the analysis of early American and French thinkers using Malthus as a critical lens, and third, Spengler’s “Restatement and Reappraisal” of Malthusian theory.

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Advisor: E. Roy Weintraub

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