Research Interests

Growing up between two worlds, transatlantic relations have always featured prominently in my life. This is also reflected in my research, such as in my focus on American–European trade relations or in the way German social science spread to the United States.

American Foreign Economic Policy in the 20th Century

In this research project, I focus on institutional change in American trade policy in the 20th century. Foreign economic policy in the United States in the post-war era was not consistently the result of path-dependence, and I am interested in important junctures of insti-tutional change, the role agents play, and how they wield ideas in the policy process. With a particular focus on trade policy in the context of an increasingly multilateral trading architecture in the 1950s and 60s, I have conducted archival research, thereby bridging work by historians with that of social scientists. I am currently working on a paper examining different episodes of change in American trade policy in the 20th century to better comprehend the variety of different types of institutional change.

Economics as Social Science

I am a firm believer that economics is a social science. Too often, it is forgotten that economic relations are embedded in a broader societal web, and that what we consider to be “the economy” is not to be understood in isolation. Indeed, multiple interde-pendences are constitutive for its make-up. This was understood in much clearer terms in the past; in fact, the predominant term for the discipline in the 18th and 19th centuries was political economy – or Staats-wissenschaften in German – highlighting (at the very least) the interaction of the political and economic spheres. Bringing together my disparate interests in the social nature of economics, the history of economic thought, and modern PPE perspectives, my research pursues these ideas. Jointly with Stefan Kolev and Erwin Dekker, I have also translated key texts from late 19th and early 20th century German political economy, which has been published as a special issue in the Journal of Contextual Economics.

© 2020 by Mark McAdam