Professor Roger Backhouse

Professor Roger Backhouse

Research Fellow, Project Leader

Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS)

Key Expertise
History of Social Science

About me

Roger Backhouse is Professor of the History and Philosophy of Economics at the University of Birmingham and Erasmus University Rotterdam, he became associated with CPNSS in 2007, whilst on a Ludwig M. Lachmann Fellowship spent at LSE after which he became a Research Fellow. His main activity at the Centre was organising, with Philippe Fontaine, the workshops that led to The History of the Social Sciences since 1945 (2010). Subsequent work with Fontaine led to volumes on the relationship between economics, traditionally thought to have remained largely separate from the other social sciences, and other social sciences, and on the historiography of the social sciences.

Most recently he has worked with Beatrice Cherrier on a reappraisal of the recent rise of "applied economics", trying to establish what this involved and how it should be characterized. We argued that it involves not simply the increased use of computing and "big data" but changes in the relationship between economics and policy making, and other changes that justify focusing on applied economics rather than simply empirical economics, or some narrower label.

He has also worked on the history of postwar macroeconomics and for the past few years his major project has been an intellectual biography of the American economist, Paul Samuelson, the first volume of which was published in 2017. The second volume is being written but as yet is still some way off.


Expertise Details

The history of recent economics and recent social science; with a particular focus on the life of Paul Samuelson and post-WW2 economics in the United States.

My research