Vernon L. Smith papers, 1938-2019

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Smith, Vernon L.
Vernon Smith (born 1927) is a Nobel Prize winner and Professor of Economics and Law at Chapman University. This collection primarily documents his professional life through his correspondence, writings, research, teaching, and professional service. It forms part of the Economists' Papers Archive.
238 Linear Feet (190 record cartons.)
3.3 Gigabytes (Three sets.)
Material in English.
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

The bulk of these papers reside in Research and Writings, which contains extensive files of his research notes, reprints, and revisions of working papers by himself and others with annotations. Broadly speaking, these files document important developments in experimental economics and his contributions to this field of study. Primary subjects include the development of a methodology for experimental economics; the implementation of experimental economics into the studies of asset trading, capital investment, game theory, environmental economics, price behavior, strategic decision making, and utilities; and the behavior toward, as well as the psychology behind, economic decisions. Print Materials includes reprints of journal articles by him on similar topics, many of which are also available through the library catalog.

Correspondence contains primarily professional communications concerning comments on his work by other economists, comments on other economists' work (dating from his days editing for several journals), and academic affairs (including recommendations and planning for classes and seminars). The contents of two emails accounts have been transferred and are available, and they contain tens of thousands of messages.

Professional Service and Teaching follow his activities as a faculty member at the universities of Purdue, Brown, Massachusetts, Arizona, George Mason, and Chapman; his roles with organizations such as the National Science Foundation, National Academy of Science, and the Journal of Economic Behavior; and his domestic and international consulting on utility regulation.

Biographical / historical:

Chronology List
Date Event
1927, Jan. 1 Born in Tucson, AZ
1949 BSEE, California Institute of Technology
1952 MA, University of Kansas
1955 PhD,Harvard University
1951-1952 Instructor of Economics, University of Kansas
1954-1955 Economist, Harvard Economics Research Project
1955-1967 Assistant/Associate/(Full) Professor, Purdue University
1957 "On the Use of Engineering Data and Statistical Techniques in the Analysis of Production and Technological Change: Fuel Requirements in the Trucking Industry", Econometrica
1957-1959 Research Consultant, RAND Corporation
1958 (with K. David and J. Wiley) Economics: An Analytical Approach
1958-1959 Faculty Research Fellow, Ford Foundation
1961 Investment and Production
1962 "An Experimental Study of Market Behavior", Journal of Political Economy
1967-1968 Professor of Economics, Brown University
1968-1975 Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts
1975-2001 Professor of Economics, University of Arizona
1977 "The Principle of Unanimity and Voluntary Consent in Social Choice," Journal of Political Economy
1979 Research in Experimental Economics, vol. 1 (editor)
1982 Research in Experimental Economics, vol. 2 (editor)
1983 Editorial Board, The Cato Journal
1985 Associate Editor, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization
1985 Research in Experimental Economics, vol. 3 (editor)
1986-1987 Founding President, Economic Science Association (ESA)
1986-2001 Research Director, Economics Science Laboratory (ESL), University of Arizona
1992 Editorial and Advisory Boards, Economic Theory
1993 Consultant and lecturer, Prospect Electricity, Australia
1994 "Preferences, Property Rights and Anonymity in Bargaining Games," Games and Economic Behavior
Professor of Economics and Law and founding Director of Interdisciplinary Center for Experimental Science (ICES), George Mason Universiy (along with three colleagues from Arizona)
2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on empirical economic analysis, especially related to alternative market mechanisms
2008-present Professor of Economics and Law, George L. Argyros Endowed Chair in Finance and Economics, and founder of Economic Science Institute (ESI), Chapman University

Acquisition information:
The Vernon L. Smith papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library as gifts from Vernon Smith between 1996-2022.
Processing information:

Processed by Tanner Capps, Ted Holt, Paula Jeannet, Chloe Rockow, Jen Snow, Kathryn Terrell, February 2010; Hyeeyoung Kim, September 2017; Zachary Tumlin, April 2022.

Encoded by Ted Holt, Paula Jeannet, Jen Snow, February 2010.

Accessions described in this collection guide: 1996-0106, 2000-0416, 2001-0168, 2004-0004, 2008-0001, 2013-0182, and 2022-0018.


The Vernon L. Smith papers are arranged into six series: Correspondence, Personal, Print Material, Professional Service, Research and Writings, and Teaching.

Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


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

Terms of access:

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], Vernon L. Smith papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Duke University.