Robert William Fogel

Robert William Fogel

American economist who, with Douglass C. North, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1993. The two were cited for developing cliometrics, the application of statistical analysis to the study of economic history.
Fogel attended Cornell University (B.A., 1948), Columbia University (M.A., 1960), and Johns Hopkins University (Ph.D., 1963); he later received M.A. degrees from the University of Cambridge (1975) and Harvard University (1976). After teaching at Johns Hopkins and the University of Rochester (N.Y.), he joined the faculty of the University of Chicago (1964). He accepted a position at Harvard (1975-81), after which he returned to Chicago.

Fogel first attracted attention in the early 1960s, when he utilized statistical analysis to argue that the development of railroads in the United States in the 19th century had contributed little to the overall growth of the economy. The publication in 1974 of Time on the Cross: The Economics of American Negro Slavery, which he wrote with Stanley L. Engerman, generated considerable controversy, because it contended that slavery had been a profitable enterprise that had collapsed for political, rather than economic, reasons. The resulting furor over this theory compelled Fogel to write a defense of his work, Without Consent or Contract: The Rise and Fall of American Slavery (1989), which included a moral condemnation of slavery and clarified his earlier research.


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