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This essay on labor economics examines neoclassical theory's rise to ascendancy following the second World War, with a secondary focus on the relative decline but continued influence of institutionalist economic theory. The authors describe the evolution of institutional and neoclassical theory from the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries, examine some early intellectual debates between the two camps, briefly describe the work of neoclassical labor economics pioneers, and look at major developments over the past 30 years. They argue that neoclassical economists' increasing intellectual breadth and influence in public policy have led them to pay closer attention to issues that have long been of concern to institutionalists and "neoinstitutionalists."


Suggested Citation

Boyer, G. R., & Smith, R. S. (2001). The development of the neoclassical tradition in labor economics [Electronic version]. Industrial and Labor Relations Review 54(2), 199-223.

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