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09/17/93

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Paul David elected to Oxford fellowship

STANFORD -- Paul Allan David, longtime member and former chair of the Economics Department at Stanford, has been elected a senior research fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, where he has been a visiting fellow since January.

David will return periodically to Stanford to teach graduate and undergraduate courses, and he will continue to offer courses in the economics of technology and economic history to Stanford undergraduates attending the Stanford Center in Oxford. He has been granted a fractional leave of absence by Stanford to permit him to hold the research fellowship while remaining an active member of the Economics Department.

"This is a truly unique opportunity for me to have the best of two academic worlds," David said, "and I'm enormously grateful to Stanford for making it possible. I think that, with the generous support for my research that the All Souls fellowship provides, and the help of electronic mail, faxes and lots of frequent flyer coupons, I can forge and maintain an active, ongoing research and teaching link between the two institutions.

"I hope to be able in this way to contribute a bit more to Stanford's development as a truly international university."

David, who came to Stanford as an acting assistant professor in 1961, received tenure in 1966 and was appointed the William Robertson Coe Professor of American Economic History (and a member of the History faculty by courtesy) in 1977. He first gained an international reputation for his contributions to the development of the "new economic history," which uses theoretical and statistical tools of modern economics to reconstruct and analyze economic life in the past.

During the past decade, David's interest turned increasingly to trying to bring his historical perspective to bear upon economic policy analysis in the areas of technology and science. As chair of Economics in the early 1980s, he played a central role, with Michael Boskin, in creating Stanford's Center for Economic Policy Research, where he continues to direct the High Technology Impact Program and serve as a steering committee member.

One of the champions of "historical economics," an approach that emphasizes the role of past conditions and historical contingencies in current economic conditions, David has served as vice president and president of the Economic History Association and is an elected fellow of the International Econometric Society, and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Although his entire academic career has been spent as a member of the Stanford faculty, David taught courses at Stanford- in-Britain and has been a visiting fellow or faculty member at the University of Sussex and Cambridge University. Last year, he combined a teaching appointment for the Stanford Overseas Studies Program with a visiting fellowship at All Souls.

His election at All Souls, which begins this winter, makes him the 1,851st fellow in the six-and-a-half-century history of the college. He will join 58 academic fellows, whose appointments are comparable to a professorship, although without teaching or administrative obligations.

David has developed two new courses at Stanford's Oxford Center: Economic Analysis and History of Technological Change (Econ 168X) and Workshop on the Economics of Networks (Econ 169X), both of which will be offered during the upcoming academic year.

"The Stanford students at the Oxford center are superb," he said, "and the program there has been wonderfully supportive, both in encouraging me to develop courses that reflect my peculiarly historical approach to the analysis of economic problems, and in permitting me to do the kind of "hands-on", small-group instruction and supervised research experience that I really enjoy and feel should be part of a Stanford undergraduate education."

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