Fogel, Robert W.

Fogel, Robert W. (William)

(1926–  ) economic historian; born in New York City. Son of Russian immigrants, he organized Communist youth in New York before enrolling in Columbia University to study statistics (A.M. 1960). A brilliant maverick, he helped found cliometrics, a discipline that applies economic statistics to history. He wrote several books challenging historical assumptions such as the relevance of railroads to the American west's economic development. He also wrote Time on the Cross (1974), which raised such a controversy about his views on slavery in America that he wrote a more accommodating second book, Without Consent or Contract (1989). He taught at several universities before joining the faculty at the University of Chicago in 1981. In 1993 he and Douglass C. North were awarded the Nobel Prize in economics for their contributions to economic history.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.