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Deirdre N. McCloskey (born Donald McCloskey; September 11, 1942, Ann Arbor, Michigan) is an American economics professor who is a Distinguished Professor of Economics, History, English, and Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She is also adjunct professor of Philosophy and Classics there, and for five years was a Tinbergen Distinguished Professor of Economics, Philosophy, History, English, and Arts and Culture, at Erasmus University, Rotterdam. Since October 2007, she has received six honorary doctorates.
McCloskey earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Economics at Harvard University. (Her study of British iron and steel won in 1973 the distinguished David A. Wells Prize for best dissertation.)
In 1968 — while still a graduate student — McCloskey became an assistant professor of economics at the University of Chicago, where she stayed for 12 years, gaining tenure as an associate professor in economics in 1975, and an associate professorship in history in 1979. Her work at Chicago is marked by her contribution to the cliometric revolution in economic history, and famously teaching generations of leading economists Chicago Price Theory, a course which culminated in her article "The Applied Theory of Price." In 1979, at the suggestion of Wayne Booth in English at Chicago, she turned to the study of rhetoric in economics. Later at the University of Iowa, McCloskey, the John Murray Professor of Economics and of History (1980–1999), published "The Rhetoric of Economics (1985)" and co-founded with John S. Nelson, Allan Megill, and others a field of study, called "the rhetoric of the human sciences," and an institution and graduate program, the Project on Rhetoric of Inquiry. McCloskey has authored or edited more than 20 books and over 300 articles challenging standard assumptions in the field.
Her major contributions have been to the economic history of Britain, (19th century trade, modern history, and medieval agriculture) the quantification of historical inquiry (cliometrics), the rhetoric of economics, the rhetoric of the human sciences, economic methodology, virtue ethics, feminist economics, heterodox economics, the role of mathematics in economic analysis, and the use (and misuse) of significance testing in economics, and recently in her trilogy "The Bourgeois Era", the origins of the Industrial Revolution.
She discussed some of these issues in the inaugural James M. Buchanan Lecture at George Mason University on April 7, 2006. She said there, capitalism "is an ethically drenched human activity" which requires attention to all of the classical seven virtues, while economists usually focus exclusively on prudence. Her book The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce[dead link] is the first of a planned three-volume work. The second book, Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World was published in 2010 and a draft of the third volume, Bourgeois Towns: How Capitalism Became Ethical, 1600–1848, is available online in her website.
Most of what appears in the best journals of economics is unscientific rubbish. I find this unspeakably sad. All my friends, my dear, dear friends in economics, have been wasting their time....They are vigorous, difficult, demanding activities, like hard chess problems. But they are worthless as science.
The physicist Richard Feynman called such activities Cargo Cult Science....By “cargo cult” he meant that they looked like science, had all that hard math and statistics, plenty of long words; but actual science, actual inquiry into the world, was not going on. I am afraid that my science of economics has come to the same point.
Personal life 
McCloskey is the eldest child of Robert McCloskey, a professor of government at Harvard University, and the former Helen Stueland, a poet.
Married for thirty years and the father of two children, she transitioned from male to female in 1995, at the age of 53, writing about her experience in a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Crossing: A Memoir (1999, University of Chicago Press).
McCloskey advocates on behalf of the rights of persons and organizations in the LGBT community. She was also a key person in the Blanchard, Bailey, and Lawrence theory controversy and in the debate over J. Michael Bailey's book The Man Who Would Be Queen.
|This article lacks ISBNs for the books listed in it. (March 2013)|
(Items published prior to 1996 were published under the name Donald McCloskey, though some may have since been republished under the name Deirdre. This can be important to know in tracking down these and other works of the author.)
- Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World (November 2010) University of Chicago Press
- The Cult of Statistical Significance: How the Standard Error Costs Us Jobs, Justice, and Lives (January 2008) University of Michigan Press (with Stephen T. Ziliak)
- The Bourgeois Virtues : Ethics for an Age of Commerce (June 2006) University of Chicago Press
- The Economic Conversation (2008) (with Arjo Klamer and Stephen Ziliak)
- The Secret Sins of Economics (August 2002)
- Crossing: A Memoir (September 1999) is McCloskey's account of her growing recognition (while a boy and man) of her female identity, and her transition — both surgical and social — into a woman (including her reluctant divorce from her wife). Following sex-reassignment surgery, the book describes her new life continuing her career as a female academic economist.
- Measurement and Meaning in Economics: The Essential Deirdre McCloskey (1999) (edited by Stephen Ziliak)
- The Vices of Economists, the Virtues of the Bourgeoisie (1996)
- Knowledge and Persuasion in Economics (1994)
- Second Thoughts: Myths and Morals of U.S. Economic History (1993)
- A Bibliography of Historical Economics to 1980 (1990)
- If You're So Smart: The Narrative of Economic Expertise (1990)
- The Consequences of Economic Rhetoric (1988)
- The Writing of Economics (1987) reprinted as Economical Writing (2000)
- Econometric History (1987)
- The Rhetoric of the Human Sciences: Language and Argument in Scholarship and Public Affairs (1987)
- The Rhetoric of Economics (1985 & 1998)
- The Applied Theory of Price (1982 & 1985)
- Enterprise and Trade in Victorian Britain: Essays in Historical Economics (1981)
- Economic Maturity and Entrepreneurial Decline: British Iron & Steel, 1870–1913 (1973)
- Essays on a Mature Economy: Britain after 1840 (1971)
- Modern Epistemology Against Analytic Philosophy: A Reply to Maki Journal of Economic Literature Vol. 33, No. 3 (Sep., 1995), pp. 1319–1323
- The Rhetoric of Law and Economics Michigan Law Review Vol. 86, No. 4 (Feb., 1988), pp. 752–767
- The Loss Function Has Been Mislaid: The Rhetoric of Significance Tests, American Economic Review, Vol. 75, No. 2, Papers and Proceedings of the Ninety-Seventh Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association (May, 1985), pp. 201–205
- The Rhetoric of Economics, Journal of Economic Literature Vol. 21, No. 2 (Jun., 1983), pp. 481–517
- McCloskey D, Ziliak S T. (1996 March). The Standard Error of Regressions. Journal of Economic Literature Vol. 34:97–114.
- McCloskey D N, Ziliak S T. (2004). Size Matters: The Standard Error of Regressions in the American Economic Review[dead link]. Econ Journal Watch. 1(2) 331–338.
See also 
- McCloskey, Deirdre (May 11, 2011). "Curriculum Vitae of Professor Deirdre Nansen McCloskey". Deirdre McLoskey.com. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
- McCloskey, Deirdre. Measurement and Meaning in Economics: The Essential Deirdre McCloskey, ed. Stephen Thomas Ziliak (Cheltenham, UK, and Northampton, Mass., USA: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2001), 350.
- McCloskey, Deirdre. "The Applied Theory of Price". PDF. Deirdre McCloskey.com. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
- McCloskey, Deirdre. "Books by Deirdre McCloskey". Deirdre McCloskey.com. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
- McCloskey, Deirdre. George Mason University lecture[dead link]
- McCloskey, Deirdre. paradigm4.PDFvers.qxd[dead link]
- "From Donald to Deirdre: How a man became a woman — and what it says about identity". Reason. 1999–2012. Archived from the original on 2008-06-07. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
- Carey, Benedict (2007-08-21). "Criticism of a Gender Theory, and a Scientist Under Siege". New York Times
- Deirdre McCloskey personal home page
- Deirdre McCloskey website at the University of Illinois at Chicago Department of English[dead link]
- "Leading Economist Stuns Field by Deciding to Become a Woman"[dead link], The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 16, 1996
- In Defense of Extreme Rationalism: Thoughts on Donald McCloskey's The Rhetoric of Economics by Hans-Hermann Hoppe.
- International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE)
- Journal of Feminist Economics
- IDEAS repository of papers
- Association for Integrity and Responsible Leadership in Economics and Associated Professions
- An excerpt titled "Before Deirdre there was Jane" from the book Crossing: A Memoir by Dierdre McCloskey
- An excerpt from The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce by Deirdre N. McCloskey