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About Alexander J. Field

Professor Field's current research is in two main areas. The first, aimed at better integrating the human sciences, is reflected in his 2001 book, Altruistically Inclined? The Behavioral Sciences, Evolutionary Theory, and the Origins of Reciprocity, which won the 2003 Alpha Sigma Nu National Book Award in the Social Sciences. Recently published articles in this area include "Group Selection and Behavioral Economics," in the Handbook of Contemporary Behavioral Economics: Foundations and Developments (2006), "Beyond Foraging", which appeared in the December 2007 Journal of Institutional Economics, and "Why Multilevel Selection Matters", in the Journal of Bioeconomics (December 2008).  His paper "Prosociality and the Military" is forthcoming in the Journal of Bioeconomics, and "Schelling, von Neumann, and the Event that didn't Occur" recently appeared in Games (2014).

His second area of current interest is in macroeconomic history with a focus on technology and productivity. His article "The Most Technologically Progressive Decade of the Twentieth Century" appeared in the September 2003 American Economic Review. Other recent articles include "Technological Change and U.S. Economic Growth in the Interwar Years," Journal of Economic History (March 2006), "Technical Change and U.S. Economic Growth: The Interwar Period and the 1990s"in Paul Rhode and Gianni Toniolo, eds. The Global Economy in the 1990s: A Long Run Perspective (2006), "The Equipment Hypothesis and U.S. Economic Growth," Explorations in Economic History (January 2007), "The Origins of U.S. Total Factor Productivity Growth in the Golden Age," Cliometrica (April 2007), "The Impact of the Second World War on U.S. Productivity Growth" Economic History Review (2008) and "U.S. Economic Growth in the Gilded Age," Journal of Macroeconomics (March 2009).  His book A Great Leap Forward: 1930s Depression and US Economic Growth, published by Yale University Press, was selected as a 2011 Choice Outstanding Academic Title in the Economics category. In 2012 it received the Alice Hanson Jones Biennial Book Award as well as the 2012 Alpha Sigma Nu National Book Award in Social Sciences. His most recent papers include "The Saving and Loan Insolvencies in the Shadow of the Great Recession" and a review essay on Thomas Piketty's best seller, Capital in the Twenty First Century in the Journal of Economic History(September 2014).

Professor Field edited Research in Economic History for over ten years, and served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Economic Historyand Explorations in Economic History, and for over twenty years as Associate Editor of the Journal of Economic Literature. He was Executive Director of the Economic History Association between 2004 and 2012, on the National Science Foundation's Economics Panel in 2005 and 2006, and is currently on the Advisory Board ofCliometricaand the Journal of Bioeconomics. During the academic year 2013-14, he participated in the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholars Program.

Prior to coming to Santa Clara, Professor Field taught at Stanford University. At Santa Clara University he has served as acting Academic Vice President (1986-87), on the University's Board of Trustees (1988-91), as Associate and Acting Dean of the Leavey School of Business between 1993 and 1997, and as chair of the Economics Department between 1988 and 1993, and again in 2013-14.


1992 - Present Michel and Mary Orradre Professor of Economics, Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business
1988 - Present Professor of Economics, Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business
1982 - 1988 Associate Professor of Economics, Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business

Curriculum Vitae


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  • American Economic History
  • European Economic History
  • Twentieth Century U.S. Economic History
  • Macroeconomics (Intermediate and MBA)
  • History of Economic Thought
  • Economics of Technological Change
  • Evolution of the Modern Business Enterprise
  • Game Theory and Human Behavior


December 1974 Ph.D. in Economics, University of California, Berkeley
August 1971 M.Sc. in Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science
June 1970 A.B. m.c.l. in Economics, Harvard University

Contact Information

Phone: (408) 554-4348
Fax: (408) 554-2331


Research Works (66)