Professor Roger Backhouse

Professor Roger Backhouse

The Department of Economics
Professor of the History and Philosophy of Economics

Contact details

+44 (0)121 414 7377
Department of Economics
University of Birmingham
JG Smith Building
B15 2TT

Roger Backhouse's recent research has been on the history of economics, focusing on twentieth-century economics and macroeconomics. For the past eight years he has been working on an intellectual biography of Paul A. Samuelson, the first volume of which was published in 2017, and which was awarded the Spengler Prize for the best book of the year, by the History of Economics Society. Another book, co-authored with Mauro Boianovsky, Transforming Modern Macroeconomics; Exploring Disequilibrium Microfoundations, 1956-2003 was been awarded the Blanqui Prize by the European Society of the History of Economic Thought. Other interests include the history of welfare economics, the relationship between economics and other social sciences, and the history of empirical macroeconomics.


B.Sc. in Economics and Economic History (University of Bristol0

Ph.D. in Economics (University of Birmingham)


The history of economic thought (3rd year option). Also teaches history of economic thought to students in Erasmus University Rotterdam and the Tinbergen Institute, Amsterdam.


Main project is the second and final volume of an intellectual biography of Paul Samuelson. Also involved, with various co-authors, in projects on the history of empirical macroeconomics, the history of welfare economics and the history of relationships between economics and other social sciences.

Other activities

Part-time secondment to Erasmus Institute of Philosophy and Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam. 

Personal Homepage


Discussion papers:

‘The ordinary business of macroeconometric modeling: working on the Fed-MIT-Penn model (1964-1974)’ (with Beatrice Cherrier), at

‘I occasionally learn something: Paul Samuelson, gender bias and discrimination before 1973’ (with Beatrice Cherrier), at

Recent publications include (see personal homepage for a more comprehensive list):

The History of Economics: A Course for Students and Teachers. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Agenda Publishing and New York: Columbia University Press, 2018. ISBN 978-1-911116-69-1/ 978-1-911116-70-7.

The Age of the Applied Economist: The Transformation of Economics since the 1970s, (edited with Beatrice Cherrier), Annual Supplement to History of Political Economy, Volume 49. Durham: Duke University Press, 2017. ISBN 978-0-8223-7128-1. Including introductory chapter, pp. 1-33.

‘“Its computers stupid!” The spread of computers and the changing roles of theoretical and applied economics,’ (with Beatrice Cherrier) History of Political Economy, Annual supplement, 2017, pp. 103-126.

Liberalism and the Welfare State: Economists and arguments for the welfare state, (edited with B. Bateman, T. Nishizawa and D. Plehwe). Oxford University Press, New York, 2017.

Founder of Modern Economics: Paul A. Samuelson. Volume 1: Becoming Samuelson, 1915-1948. Oxford University Press, New York, 2017.

‘A Road Not Taken: economists, historians of science and the making of the Bowman report’ (with Harro Maas) Isis, March 2017.