Mundell, China and Chess

portrait51As some of you may know, Robert Leonard have been engaged for some time in a research on the links between economics and chess in the first half of the twentieth-century , which either as a chess fan or an historian of economics I find fascinating. While looking for chess news, I came accross this (click the link below) and it made me wonder whether the historians of post-WWII macroeconomics knew about this.  I did not.


4 thoughts on “Mundell, China and Chess

  1. Loïc, I am not claiming I am a historian of post-WWII macroeconomics, but I was not aware of Mundell’s interest in chess and his initiative on the international tournament in China.
    Here we have a figure in economics about whom (and whose work) there are very few historical narratives. Some claim that Mundell has his own view on how things evolved and is not open to a more detailed historical debate. I don’t know whether or not this is true.
    But following the interesting possible connection between chess and economics, two things in Mundell’s interviews are peculiar (and provocative): first, that he thinks it is important that China first import “international” chess rather than trying to export Chinese chess; second, something not mentioned but possible, that he himself supported financially the international tournament (just this time, the first?). These are goods points of departure for histories of postwar macroeconomics…

  2. The Mundell story is fascinating. His Canadian origins, his time at Chicago, his departure in odd circumstances, his Bellagio group participation, his connection with Laffer and Wanninsky in Supply Side Economics, his rediscovery to the profession thanks to Rudi Dornsbusch. It is unfortunately a story not easily told, which would take a lot of time and energy. Shall we do it in 2012? 😉

  3. Warren Young and Russ Boyer have been doing a series of papers on Mundell, but I do not know whether any of them are in print. They take a strong and aggressive line that Mundell’s own accounts of his work are misleading at best, and they call into question, quite controversially, the allocation of merit between Fleming and Mundell.

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