King’s professor releases groundbreaking economic history book
NEW YORK, April 1, 2009—In March, Assistant Professor of Economics Douglas Puffert published Tracks across Continents, Paths through History: The Economic Dynamics of Standardization in Railway Gauge, which recounts the international history of railway gauge standardization and brings new insight in to the economic theory of path dependence.
Path dependence investigates how past events, such as early choices of railway gauge, may have lasting consequences despite changing views about optimal technology.
By combining history and economics, Puffert rigorously details why railway gauge, the distance between rails, has historically differed across regions. He also explores the development, and benefit, of standardized gauge and how both markets and governments promoted or hindered standardization.
Many have already praised Puffert’s groundbreaking work. Gavin Wright, professor of American economic history at Stanford University, calls the book “ingenious and compelling.” Richard Langlois, professor of economics at the University of Connecticut agrees: “Meticulously researched and cogently argued, Tracks across Continents will take its place among the classic case studies of technological standards and path dependence.”
Puffert, who lectures in Microeconomics, Public Choice, and Political Economy, joined the faculty of The King’s College in 2007, after teaching in Germany and England. He holds B.A. degrees in History and Economics from the University of Washington and completed his Ph.D. in Economics at Stanford University. Aside from teaching, he worked at the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, D.C., for six years.
Tracks across Continents was released by University of Chicago Press on March 15 and is available on amazon.com.
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