Avner Offer

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Avner Offer (born c. 1951) is an economic historian who held the Chichele Professorship in Economic history at the University of Oxford, England. He is an Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and a fellow of the British Academy. He specializes in international political economy, law, the First World War and land tenure. Over the past decade, Offer's main interest has been in post-war economic growth, particularly in affluent societies, and the challenges that this affluence presents to well being.


Avner Offer was born and raised in Israel. He was educated at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (B.A. 1973) and Oxford University (D.Phil. 1979).[1] He has worked at the University of York, the Australian National University, and the University of Oxford, with research fellowships at the University of Southampton, the University of Cambridge, Rutgers University and New York University. He is married with two children.

Offer's most recent work, The Challenge of Affluence: Self-Control and Well-Being in the United States and Britain since 1950, represents to some extent a challenge to Neoclassical economics. Through it he argues that "well-being" has in fact lagged behind the increasing affluence of western societies: that "affluence breeds impatience, and impatience undermines well-being...the paradox of affluence and its challenge is that the flow of new rewards can undermine the capacity to enjoy them."[2] The central concepts are therefore future discount, bounded rationality, and myopia.

Selected publications[edit]

  • Property and Politics 1870–1914: Landownership, Law, Ideology and Urban Development in England. (Cambridge, 1981, ISBN 0521224144) 464pp.
  • The First World War: An Agrarian Interpretation. (Oxford, 1990, ISBN 0198219466) 472pp.
  • "The British empire, 1870–1914: a waste of money?", Economic History Review. Vol 46, 2 (1992) pp. 215–238
  • (with S. Bowden), "Household Appliances and the Use of Time in the U.S.A., and Britain since the 1920s", Economic History Review, second series. Vol 47, 4 (1994)
  • "Between the gift and the market: The economy of regard", The Economic History Review. Vol 50, 3 (1997) pp. 450–476
  • "Costs and Benefits, Prosperity and Security, 1870–1914" in Oxford History of the British Empire, vol. 3, The Nineteenth Century (ed. A. Porter), (Oxford, 1999) pp. 690–711
  • Why is the Public Sector so large in Market Societies? The Political Economy of Prudence in the UK, c. 1870–2000. (Oxford, 2003, ISBN 0199514356) 46pp.
  • The Challenge of Affluence: Self-control and Well-being in the USA and Britain since 1950. (Oxford, 2006, ISBN 0198208537) 472pp.
  • "Obesity Under Affluence varies by Welfare Regimes: The Effect of Fast Food, Insecurity and Inequality", Economics and Human Biology. Vol. 8, (2010), pp. 297–308 (with Rachey Pechey and Stanley Ulijaszek)


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ The Challenge of Affluence: Self-control and Well-being in the USA and Britain since 1950. (Oxford, 2006)

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