Guide to the Vernon L. Smith Papers, 1938-2007 and undated
Economist and faculty member at the University of Arizona specializing in experimental economics, price behavior, and game theory. The Vernon L. Smith Papers span the years 1938-2007, covering the majority of Smith's career as an economist in the United States, from his early collegiate work at the California Institute of Technology and Harvard through his professorship at the University of Arizona. Limited material also exists on consulting work and academic scholarship after he left the University of Arizona in 2002. The collection is arranged in the following series: Correspondence, Electronic Files, Personal Files, Print Material, Professional Service, Research and Writings, and Teaching Material. Research topics 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 economic decision-making, for which Smith was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002.
- Collection Number
- Vernon L. Smith papers
- 1938-2007 and undated
- Smith, Vernon L.
- 103.2 Linear Feet, Approximately 64,500 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Material in English
The Vernon L. Smith Papers span the years 1938-2007, covering the majority of Smith's career as an economist in the United States, from his early collegiate work at the California Institute of Technology and Harvard through his professorship at the University of Arizona. Limited material also exists on consulting work and academic scholarship after he left the University of Arizona in 2002. The collection is arranged in the following series: Correspondence, Electronic Files, Personal Files, Print Material, Professional Service, Research and Writings, and Teaching Material.
The bulk of the papers reside in the Research and Writings Series, which contains extensive files of Smith's research notes, reprints, and revisions of working papers by Smith and others with added annotations. Broadly speaking, the research files document important developments in experimental economics and Smith's seminal contributions to this field of study. Recurring topics in this series 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 (e.g., the allocation of natural resources such as water), price behavior, strategic decision making, and utilities; and the behavior toward as well as the psychology behind economic decisions, for which Smith was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002. With his theories on behavioral and experimental economics, in part influenced by Leontief and Hurwicz, Smith analyzed the functioning of institutions and communication systems such as auctions, utility regulation and markets. An electronic version of Smith's History of Experimental Economic Science at the University of Arizona, and a few unidentified data files, are also found in the electronic files which have been migrated to a library server. The extensive Print Material Series includes reprints of the journal articles by Smith on similar material, many of which are also available through the Duke Libraries general collections.
In addition to documenting Smith's work in theoretical economics, the Professional Service Series, Research and Writings Series and Teaching Material Series follow his professional activities primarily at the universities of Purdue, Brown, Massachusetts, and especially at Arizona; his role as the Research Director at the Economics Science Lab at the University of Arizona; his participation on various committees; his work with institutions such as the National Science Foundation, the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization and the National Academy of Sciences; and his role as a consultant on utility regulation both domestically and internationally.
Finally, the Correspondence Series, contains primarily professional and academic correspondence concerning comments on his work by other economists; comments on other's work, dating from Smith's editorial work for several journals; and academic affairs, including recommendations and organizational letters for classes and seminars. Notable correspondence includes early exchanges with Paul Samuelson concerning Smith's graduate level work. In one folder of miscellaneous personal correspondence at the end of the series, a colleague speaks at length in several letters about the Cuban crisis and civil rights protests.
Detailed descriptions on the arrangement and content of each series can be found in the respective sections in this collection guide.
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.
Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.
Use & Permissions
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Vernon L. Smith Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Contains professional and academic correspondence, chiefly from 1971-1999. Series contains routine academic correspondence, including recommendations for students and faculty, as well as other academic affairs; works of other economists; correspondence concerning Smith's publications; some discussions of economic theory and applications; and professional correspondence (including non-academic recommendations and job offers). The majority of the series falls into three main categories: comments on other economists' work, dating to his tenure as editor of several economics journals; comments from colleagues, referees, and other academics on Smith's works; and academic affairs (namely recommendations and routine organizational letters dealing with classes and seminars). Notable correspondence includes early exchanges with Paul Samuelson concerning Smith's thesis and graduate level work. Because the series deals mostly with professional and academic correspondence, there is little personal correspondence. Arranged in chronological order.
Includes a version of Smith's History of Experimental Economic Science at the University of Arizona. Also contains data files and other unidentified files. Records have been migrated to a library server. To request access, please contact Research Services before coming to use this collection.
Contains Vernon Smith's academic coursework as a student, clippings, calendars and planners, personal correspondence, and vitae. Academic coursework includes early course notes, papers, and entrance as well as final exams from Smith's student years at the California Institute of Technology; the Samuelson material concerns a seminar taught by Samuelson while Smith was pursuing a PhD at Harvard. The thesis appendix functions as an explanation of the theories in Smith's main text, utilizing the results of his economic work. Clippings chiefly deal with the awarding of various professorships to Smith, and the Arizona Stock Exchange. The interview, conducted for a book entitled Economics in Our Times, explores the subject of experimental economics and Smith's role in the study of experimental economics. Arranged alphabetically by subject.
Consists of two subgroupings: Clippings and Reprints. The clippings files were assembled by Smith, and chiefly consist of newspaper and magazine articles on topics such as auctions, energy resources, experimental economics, fixed prices, government regulation, and the stock exchange. Reprints chiefly consist of articles written by Smith, or for which he was a contributing author. A large portion of the reprints are from a series published by the Purdue University School of Industrial Management Institute for Qualitative Research in Economics and Managment, which later became known as the Purdue University, Herman C. Krannert Graduate School of Industrial Administration, Institute for Research in the Behavior, Economic and Management Sciences. Reprints are arranged chronologically.
Series is arranged into topical groupings: Games and Economic Behavior; Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization; National Academy of Sciences; National Science Foundation; Presentations and Seminars. These are followed by single folders in original order.
Chiefly contains files on the contributions Vernon Smith made to professional associations such as the National Science Foundation, the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, and the National Academy of Sciences, as well as to the teaching profession, and to other associations. Contents are varied, and include information on workshops and presentations given by Smith at both the high school and faculty level, conferences he organized, consultancy positions he held, and professional association committee work he undertook. Other material on conferences attended by Smith can be found in the Research and Writings Series; also, many folders deriving from his undergraduate and graduate teaching can be found in the Teaching Series. In addition, because of the nature of his contributions to economics research, much of Smith's work for or with government or non-profit organizations such as his economic analysis of pollution and recycling for federal government agencies, is found in the Research and Writings Series rather than in Professional Service.
Arranged in the following subseries: Asset Trading, Experimental Economics, Game Theory and Strategic Interactions, Natural Resources and Utilities, Price Behavior, Other Writings, and Writings by Others.
Includes material on market bubbles and crashes, endowments and Coase theorem, preference reversals, rational expectations, and market contestability.
Includes Natural Monopoly and Contestable Markets Hypothesis, 1981-1983; Empirical Study of Decentralized Insitutions of Monopoly Restraint, 1978.
Major folder groupings include: mug, 1992; az, 1987-1988; po, posted offer, 1979-1982;and treasury bills.
The first two boxes relate to the Economics Science Lab at the University of Arizona. The next three boxes are NSF grant proposals. These are followed by three boxes of writings by other economists and academics in related fields, arranged alphabetically by author's last name and overlap with the subseries Game Theory and Strategic Interactions. The remainder of the subseries folders are arranged alphabetically by topic.
Includes budgets, executive committee minutes, lab development and management, and research proposals. Some additional material may be found interspersed throughout the Energy Utility materials.
Includes information on the individual and articles on his contribution to the field of experimental economics.
Includes various manuscript drafts, articles and notes by Smith on the subject of microeconomics.
Includes correspondence with publisher, drafts of contributing essays, and notes.
Includes correspondence with contributing authors and publisher; contributing essay drafts; and notes by Smith, series editor.
Arranged alphabetically by topic. See also the first three boxes of Experimental Economics Subseries.
[Contains one color 5x7 photograph of Smith.]
Major folder groupings include: ultimatum, 1991; single blind, 1993; fof, friend or foe, 1997; mach, machiavellian, 1998; asur, assurance, 1995; exbarg, 1995-1997; dictator, 1993-1995.
This subseries consists of four parts: natural resources; utilities, electric; utilites, smart markets; and utilities, natural gas. Material on natural resources chiefly consists of proposals (mainly NSF), research and writings dealing with issues of exhaustible resources (land, oil and water) as well as resource preservation (recycling, waste accumulation and Exxon Valdez accident assesment). Also includes material for Smith's book Economics of Natural and Exhaustible Resources.
Material on electric utilities chiefly concerns the regulation and deregulation of electric companies and consists of articles, charts, clippings, drafts, and proposals. The principal regions researched include Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States (Alaska, California, Illinois, New Mexico but the majority refer to Arizona). The bulk of the files deal with work conducted at the Economics Science Lab; however, other partners in this enterprise include Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC); Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC); National Economic Research Associates (NERA); Department of Energy (DOE); National Science Foundation (NSF); Goldwater Institute; and various nationalized electric companies and government agencies.
Material on smart markets concerns the network design for all utilities but primarily electric and natural gas. Major groupings of folders deal with research conducted for the industry in Hungary, and material for Smith's book on smart markets.
Material on natural gas chiefly consists of data, drafts and research for Smith's work entitled Experimental Auction Exchange for Pipeline Transmission Networks. Research was conducted in conjunction with the FERC and Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Box 174 includes unsorted material relating to Natural Resources and Utilities acquired through the 2013 accession.
Includes data (charts, price regressions and experimental auctions).
Material concerns the theory and institutions of auctions and bidding. Files primarily focus on double auctions, dutch auctions, english auctions, multiple unit auctions and sealed bid auctions. Additional groups include price controls and radio spectrum auctions.
Major folder groupings include: PDA, S-bid, SDS, DFD, DSD and Dutch auctions. They range in years between 1978-1983.
Writings by Smith which do not fall under previous major divisions in the Research and Writings Series. Arranged alphabetically by topic.
Includes material on oligopolies and core allocation.
Includes big animals, EPA conference, Hunting and Gathering Economies, and Economics of the primitive hunter culture with applications to pleistocene extinction and the rise of agriculture.
Includes colonization, and the privatization and regulation of airports and telecommunications.
Material derived in part from a revision to a previous paper concerning property rights.
Primarily reprints of articles by others on various topics of interest to Smith, which largely parallels the rest of the series: experimental economics, game theory and strategic decision making, markets and price behavior. Boxes 1 and 2 are alphabetical files by author last name, respectivly A-N and N-W. Remaining files arranged as originally received. Box 174 includes additional unsorted writings by others acquired with the 2013 accession.
These documents derive from Vernon L. Smith's lengthy teaching career at institutions such as Purdue University, Brown University, University of Massachusetts, and University of Arizona. The series is divided into two subseries: Courses and Departmental. The subseries Courses chiefly consists of assigned readings by Smith and others, course notes, transparencies, student experiments, and exam subjects. The subseries also includes student essays, class lists, and graduate advising information. The subseries Departmental chiefly consists of committee meetings concerning issues of honors candidates, fellowships, faculty, and promotion and tenure. The documents are roughly arranged chronologically. Box 175 includes unsorted materials acquired through the 2013 accession.
|January 1, 1927||Born in Tucson, Arizona|
|1949||B.S.E.E., California Institute of Technology|
|1952||M.A., University of Kansas|
|1955||Received Ph.D. from Harvard University|
|1951-1952||Appointed as Instructor of Economics, University of Kansas|
|1954-1955||Served as Economist, Harvard Economics Research Project|
|1955-1967||Professor, Purdue University|
|1957||Publication of 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||Publication with K. David and J. Wiley of Economics: An Analytical Approach,|
|1958-1959||Faculty Research Fellow, Ford Foundation|
|1961||Publication of Investment and Production, Harvard University Press|
|1962||While a visiting professor at Stanford University, published An Experimental Study of Market Behavior, in the Journal of Political Economy, considered a landmark paper on experimental economics|
|1967-1968||Professor, Brown University|
|1968-1975||Professor, University of Massachusetts|
|1976-2002||Professor, University of Arizona|
|1977||The Principle of Unanimity and Voluntary Consent in Social Choice published in the Journal of Political Economy, pioneering the systematic study of institutional design for public choice decisions|
|1979||Published Research in Experimental Economics, Vol. 1, as editor, Greenwich: JAI Press|
|1982||Publication of Research in Experimental Economics, Vol. 2|
|1983-||Editorial Board of The Cato Journal|
|1985-||Associate Editor, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization|
|1985||Publication of Research in Experimental Economics, Vol. 3, editor, Greenwich JAI Press, 1985|
|1986-1987||Founding President, Economic Science Association|
|1986-2001||Served as Research Director, Economics Science Laboratory (ESL) at University of Arizona|
|1992-||Editorial and Advisory Boards, Economic Theory|
|1993||Consultant and lecturer, Prospect Electricity, Australia, on privatizing electric power|
|1994||The 1994 Preferences, Property Rights and Anonymity in Bargaining Games in Games and Economic Behavior is considered seminal to the systematic study of personal exchange|
Joined the faculty of George Mason University, along with other colleagues from the ESL at Arizona
Director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Experimental Science (ICES) at George Mason University
|2002||Awarded Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on empirical economic analysis, especially related to alternative market mechanisms; shared prize with Daniel Kahneman of Princeton|
|2008||Founded the Economic Science Institute at Chapman University in Orange, California|
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)
- Smith, Vernon L.
- Smith, Vernon L.
- University of Arizona. Dept. of Economics
- United States. Energy Information Administration
- Auctions -- Economic aspects
- Capital investments
- Economics -- Methodology
- Economics -- Psychological aspects
- Economists -- United States -- Correspondence
- Economics -- Study and teaching
- Economics -- Simulation methods
- Economics -- Research
- Game theory
- Public utilities -- Prices
- Public utilities -- Economic aspects
- University of Arizona -- Faculty
The Vernon L. Smith Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift from 1996-2008, and in 2013.
Processed by Tanner Capps, Ted Holt, Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, Chloe Rockow, Jen Snow, Kathryn Terrell, February 2010
Encoded by Ted Holt, Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, Jen Snow, February 2010
Accessions 1996-106, 2000-416, 2001-168, 2004-004, 2008-001, and 2013-182 were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.