The computerization of economics: a chronology (in progress)

The Undercover Historian

On Hardware, there’s a great illustrated history of computers here (and timeline). For econometrics software, I relied on Charles Renfro’s massive history. I have tried to classify the various ways in which computerization affected the development of economics here and I list further research questions here. Comments welcome. 

Late 1940s


While the first general-purpose computer, the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) becomes operational in 1946, economists’ fascination with machine is then still related to the utilization of physics metaphors and tools to build economic models. In 1949, for instance, engineers Walter Newlyn and Bill Phillips (of the Phillips curve) built an hydromechanical analogue computer to simulate monetary and national income flows, the MONIAC.

Capture d’écran 2016-02-05 à 23.56.19Monniac real

Phillips’s MONIAC

Less known are the analogue electrical-mechanical devices Guy Orcutt built during the 1940s to compute solutions to complex duopoly and spatial location problems, and his regression analyzer.  In these…

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