Dr. Elizabeth Popp Berman

Tuesday Oct. 18, 5:00 p.m. ET
Professor of Organizational Studies, University of Michigan

When our political values align with those of economics, we should embrace the many useful tools it has to offer. But when they conflict, we must be willing to advocate, without apology, for alternatives.

Dr. Elizabeth Popp Berman


Dr. Elizabeth Popp Berman is the Richard H. Price Professor of Organizational Studies and (by courtesy) Sociology at the University of Michigan, and director of the Organizational Studies Program. Her new book, Thinking Like an Economist: How Efficiency Replaced Equality in U.S. Public Policy, shows how economic reasoning came to dominate Washington between the 1960s and the 1980s, and how it continues to constrain progressive ambitions today. Berman has broad research interests in the production and use of knowledge; her first book, Creating the Market University: How Academic Science Became an Economic Engine, won multiple awards from the American Sociology Association and the Social Science History Association. She has served on editorial boards including the American Journal of Sociology and the American Sociological Review, has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, and has written for wider audiences in outlets like the Washington Post.

Elizabeth Popp Berman ─ Thinking Like an Economist

For decades, Democratic politicians have frustrated progressives by tinkering around the margins of policy while shying away from truly ambitious change. What happened to bold political vision on the left, and what shrunk the very horizons of possibility? In Thinking Like an Economist, Elizabeth Popp Berman tells the story of how a distinctive way of thinking — an “economic style of reasoning” — became dominant in Washington between the 1960s and the 1980s and how it continues to dramatically narrow debates over public policy today.

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