William J. Baumol Papers, 1928-2013

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Baumol, William J.
William Baumol (1922-2017) was the Harold Price Professor of Entrepreneurship, Emeritus at New York University and Professor Emeritus of Economics at Princeton University. This collection primarily documents his professional life through his correspondence, writings, research, and professional and faculty activities. It forms part of the Economists' Papers Archive.
130 Linear Feet (87 boxes and one oversize folder.)
5.7 Gigabytes (Two sets.)
Material in English.
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

This collection documents Baumol's career as an economist and artist. The collection provides an overview of his professional activities, including his research on the cost disease, unbalanced growth, productivity growth, entrepreneurship, increasing returns and international trade, anti-trust policy, contestable markets, market structure, macroeconomic theory, and interest rate and monetary theory, among other topics. Baumol's research and writings on the economics of the arts, undertaken and coauthored with his wife Hilda, are included in the collection.

The collection also documents his collaboration and communication with prominent economists such as Maurice Allais, Gary Becker, Alan Blinder, George Dantzig, Robert Dorfman, Milton Friedman, John Kenneth Galbraith, Ralph Gomory, Frank Hahn, Roy Harrod, John Hicks, Ursula Hicks, Samuel Hollander, Nicholas Kaldor, Harold Kuhn, Abba Lerner, Jacob Marschak, Don Patinkin, Lionel Robbins, Joan Robinson, Paul Samuelson, Ralph Turvey, Jacob Viner, and Edward Wolff, among others. Of note is Baumol's longtime collaboration with, and extensive support received from, Sue Anne Batey Blackman.

Along with his scholarship and writings, the collection documents Baumol's leadership roles at the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the C. V. Starr Center for Applied Economics at New York University, as well as his extensive expert witness and consulting activities for the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission, the Interstate Commerce Commission, the Joint Economic Committee, and the Senate Judiciary Committee, among others. Baumol's consulting was often done through the companies Alderson and Sessions, Mathematica, and Consultants in Industry Economics. His notable expert witness testimonies revolved around regulation in telecommunications (particularly the AT&T monopoly), airline ticket prices and sales practices, pricing of railroad freight shipping, and other topics.

Materials from Baumol's teaching at Princeton and New York University, departmental, and committee work are included in the collection. The collection also contains samples of Baumol's artwork, including sketches and paintings.

Biographical / historical:
Biographical Note
Date Event
1922, Feb. 26
Born in New York, NY
Attended first formal art classes sponsored by Works Progress Administration
BSS, College of the City of New York
1942-1943 and 1946
Junior Economist, US Department of Agriculture
Served in US Army; stationed in France
Graduate Student and Assistant Lecturer in American Economy and Economic Dynamics, London School of Economics
PhD, University of London
Associate Professor of Economics, Princeton University
Professor of Economics, Princeton University
Business Behavior, Value and Growth
Economic Theory and Operations Analysis
Chair, Committee on the Economic Status of the Profession, American Association of University Professors
(with W.G. Bowen) Performing Arts: The Economic Dilemma
Chair and member, Economic Policy Council, State of New Jersey
Vice President, American Association of University Professors
Professor of Economics and Director, C. V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University
(with W. E. Oates) The Theory of Environmental Policy
President, Eastern Economics Association
President, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists
(with A. S. Blinder) Economics: Principles and Policies
President, American Economics Association
(with J. C. Panzar and R. D. Willig) Contestable Markets and the Theory of Industry Structure
Editor (with wife Hilda Baumol), Inflation and the Performing Arts
Superfairness: Applications and Theory
Senior Research Economist and Professor Emeritus of Economics, Princeton University
2017, May 4
Died in New York, NY
Acquisition information:
The William J. Baumol papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library as gifts between 1995-2020.
Processing information:

Processed by Shauna Saunders and Paula Jeannet, 2000; Sue-Ellen Katz and Ann G. Langford, 2001; Erich Fuchs and Meghan Lyon, 2016; Jon Cogliano, 2018; Laurin Penland, 2020.

Encoded by Ruth E. Bryan, Paula Jeannet, and Lisa Stark.

Accessions described in this collection guide: 2001-0169, 2001-0170, 2002-0225, 2005-0073, 2007-0051, 2015-0175, 2016-0047, and 2020-0078.

This material is from Baumol's offices at Princeton and New York University and his home. These three shipments were treated as one accession. Hence, while the original organization has been mostly preserved at the folder level, at the box level this is not the case. Wherever possible, the original folder labels were used in organizing the collection. Notable exceptions to this are the material in the Legal Testimony subseries and materials on the performing arts, government projects, and industry consulting, as the bulk of this material was received loose. It was not possible to map every electronic file recovered from floppy disks to particular projects, writings, or other files. In these cases, generic classifiations were made in the arrangement.


The William J. Baumol papers are arranged into seven series: Correspondence, Professional Service, Research and Notes, Writings, Academia, Personal, and Audiovisual Material.

Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


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Access note. Some materials in this collection are fragile audiovisual/photographic formats that may need to be reformatted before use. Contact Research Services for access.

Access restricted. Accession 2020-0078 requires additional arrangement, description, and/or screening. Contact Research Services for more information.

Access note. Some materials in this collection are electronic records that require special equipment. Contact Research Services with questions.

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The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the Rubenstein Library's Citations, Permissions, and Copyright guide.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], William J. Baumol Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University