Originally published 06/14/2013
Economics professor Robert Fogel, who shared the 1993 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for applying economic analysis to history and taught for at the University for over 30 years, died Tuesday morning. He was 86.In an e-mail sent out over the listhost for economics majors on Wednesday, department chairman John List said that Fogel had died of pneumonia contracted after a mild heart attack.Fogel, along with Douglass North—with whom he shared the Nobel Prize—is considered a pioneer of “cliometrics”—the practice of using quantitative methods to analyze history. Called a “bomb thrower” by the New York Times after winning the Nobel Prize, Fogel’s economic approach to history often challenged conventional wisdom. His 1974 book Time on the Cross: The Economics of American Negro Slavery found that slavery was more economically efficient than free agriculture. Fogel’s analysis led him and co-author Stanley Engerman to conclude that because slaves were valuable economic assets, slaveowners were inclined to treat them well. While acknowledging that slaves were oppressed in ways that could not be represented through data, Fogel concluded that the demise of slavery was for political reasons, not economic ones....