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Joel Mokyr

Robert H. Strotz Professor of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Economics and History

Ph.D., Yale, 1974
Curriculum Vitae


Geographic Field(s):  Modern European History: Britain and Its Empire; Global History

Thematic Field(s):  Economic and Labor History; History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

Principal Research Interest(s):  Economic History


Joel Mokyr (Ph.D., Yale, 1974) is an economic historian and has a joint appointment in economics and history with full voting rights and participation in both.

Affiliated Programs

Northwestern University’s Center for economic history (co-director); Board of Directors, National Bureau of Economic Research; Chair, advisory committee of CIFAR’s group in Institutions, Organizations and Growth.


  • Why Ireland Starved: An Analytical and Quantitative Study of the Irish Economy.
  • The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress.
  • The British Industrial Revolution: An Economic Perspective.
  • The Gifts of Athena: Historical Origins of the Knowledge Econom.
  • The Enlightened Economy.
  • His most recent book is A Culture of Growth, to be published by Princeton University Press in 2016. He has authored over 100 articles and books in his field.

Teaching Interests

  • Economic History, all periods before 1989, every country, all subtopics, including business demographic, environmental, political economy, and comparative. 
  • Mokyr has supervised closed to 50 dissertations at Northwestern: his students have been placed at tenure-track jobs at Stanford, Yale, Michigan, University of Iowa, Vanderbilt, and Rutgers (among others).

Recent Awards and Honors

  • Joel Mokyr has served as the senior editor of the Journal of Economic History from 1994 to 1998, and was editor in chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Economic History (published in July 2003), and serves as editor in chief of a book series, the Princeton University Press Economic History of the Western World (35 monographs to date). He served as President of the Economic History Association 2003-04, President of the Midwest Economics Association in 2007/08, and President of the Atlantic Economic Association (2015).
  • In 2006 he was awarded the biennial Heineken Prize by the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences for a lifetime achievement in historical science. In 2015 he was awarded the Balzan Prize for Economic History (awarded every ten years). He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a foreign fellow of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences, the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei and a Fellow of the Econometric Society and the Cliometric Society. His books have won a number of important prizes including the Joseph Schumpeter memorial prize (1990), the Ranki prize for the best book in European Economic history (1991) and more recently the Donald Price Prize of the American Political Science Association.