Becker Friedman Institute
for Research in Economics
The University of Chicago

Research. Insights. Impact. Advancing the Legacy of Chicago Economics.

Economist Life Stories-Arnold Harberger

This document, "Sense and Economics" is a transcript of a comprehensive set of interviews with Arnold Harberger, the Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, University of Chicago. The oral history was recorded in the fall of 2015 through November 2016 by Paul Burnett of the Oral History Center of the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Harberger is also a professor of economics emeritus at  University of California, Los Angeles. He is perhaps best known for overseeing the USAID Chile Project in which Chilean students were trained in economics at the University of Chicago and then went on to populate a program in economics at the Catholic University in Chile and in other countries. This oral history explores this story as merely one instance of Dr. Harberger’s sixty-five year career in technical assistance and education around the world, consulting for the US government, individual nation states, as well as international development and financial institutions such as the US Agency for International Development, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.We also trace his career as a scholar, from his training and interest in international trade to his work in public finance, especially project evaluation and benefit-cost analysis. Throughout, we explore his assiduous commitment to the feedback loop between experience in economic policymaking, economic research, and theory.