DRAFT

HSS 50th Anniversary Lecture

Thursday, December 1, 2016
5:00pm to 6:00pm
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Baxter Lecture Hall
Engineering Social Institutions: The Search for Big Themes in Social Science
Roger G. Noll, Professor of Economics, Emeritus, Stanford University,

As HSS division chair (1978–1982) early in the division's history, Noll (Caltech, BS '62) was among the first group of economists at Caltech. He brings a unique perspective to understanding the evolution and growth of HSS over the past several decades. He is known for his work on regulatory economics, law and economics, and political economy. He has served on the advisory boards of the U.S. Department of Energy, JPL, NASA, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the National Science Foundation and was a senior economist for the President's Council of Economic Advisers and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

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Abstract

When Caltech committed to a major investment in the social sciences, the model for success was taken from experiences in natural sciences: concentrate all resources on a few themes, preferably interdisciplinary. After some false starts, one theme that emerged was a scientific approach to the design of effective institutions. This theme brought together scholars in the economics of law, positive political theory, economic history, and experimental social sciences. By the late 1970s, research following this theme had made important contributions in both scholarship and practice and had given the Caltech social science program international visibility. This lecture provides a broad overview of this history as well as an overview of some current research in this area.

For more information, please contact Sheryl Cobb by phone at 626-395-4220 or by email at sjc@hss.caltech.edu.