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Paul Allan DAVID


Paul Allan DAVID, economist in the field of North American Economic History; Economic Demography; Technology. Fulbright Scholar, 1956-1958; Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, 1975-1976; Fellow, International Econometric Society; Vice-President, Economie History Association, USA, 1978-1979; Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


DAVID, Paul Allan was born in 1935 in New York City, New York, United States of America.


Bachelor of Arts, Doctor of Philosophy Harvard University, 1956, 1973.


Assistant Professor, Association Professor, Professor of Economics, Stanford University, 1961-1966, 1966-1969, 1969-1976. Visiting Fellow, All Souls College Oxford, 1968-1969, Visiting Professor of Economics, Harvard University, 1972-1973. Pitt Professor American Hist, and Institute, Institution, Fellow, Churchill College Cambridge, 1977-1978.

Fellow, Center Advanced Study Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, 1978-1979. William Robertson Coe Professor American Economics History, Stanford University, California, United States of America, since 1976. Editorial Board, Journal of Economic History, 1969-1977.

Association Editor, Exp lor. Economics History, since 1973, History Methods, since 1980.


  • Fulbright Scholar, 1956-1958. Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, 1975-1976. Fellow, International Econometric Society.

    Vice-President, Economie History Association, USA, 1978-1979. Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Extending and refining the uses of quantitative and theoretical methods of economics in studying economic history — particularly technological change in agriculture and industry, structural transformations connected with urbanisation and industrialisation, and the sources of long-term growth in the United States — formed the main concerns of my early work. Interpreting the consequences of the institution of slavery for American economic development, and exploring, in that connection, the inherent limitations of neoclassical analysis as means of inferring micro-motives from macrooutcomes (market phenomena), also occupied my attention, along with that of some others. Three themes that had emerged in my writings by the mid- 1970s have become dominant motifs of my subsequent work in the areas of technological, demographic and institutional history: (1) the implications of non-convexities, due to scale economies and learning effects in production and consumption, which give rise to path-dependent dynamic processes and thereby necessitate an historical approach to economic analysis.

(2) the importance for long-term economic change of the nature of the externalities that arise in economic-demographic interactions, and the role of social institutions in determining such interactions. And (3) the effects of the strategic behaviour of agents within social and economic institutions upon the performance and long-run viability of specific institutional arrangements.