Distinguished Professor of Economics, History and English
University of Illinois at Chicago
Deirdre McCloskey teaches economics, history, English, and communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago. A well-known economist, historian, and rhetorician, she has written sixteen books and around 400 scholarly pieces on topics ranging from technical economics and statistics to transgender advocacy to the ethics of the bourgeois virtues. She is known as a Chicago-School style, “conservative” economist (she taught for 12 years at the University of Chicago), but protests that “I’m a literary, quantitative, postmodern, free-market, progressive Episcopalian, Midwestern woman from Boston who was once a man. Not ‘conservative!’ I’m a Christian libertarian.” Her latest book, Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World (University of Chicago Press, 2010), which argues that an ideological change rather than saving or exploitation is what made us rich, is the second in a series of four on The Bourgeois Era. The first was The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce (2006), which asked if a participant in a capitalist economy can still have an ethical life (briefly, yes). With Stephen Ziliak she wrote The Cult of Statistical Significance (2008), which criticizes the proliferation of tests of “significance,” and was in 2011 the basis of a Supreme Court decision.