Harold Demsetz is the Arthur Andersen UCLA Alumni Emeritus Professor of Business Economics and is one of the founders of new institutional economics. Additionally, he has pioneered the area of managerial economics and has contributed significantly to the theory of property rights, which is especially prevalent in law and economics. He received both his Ph.D. and his MBA from Northwestern University, and earned his BA at the University of Illinois. Professor Demsetz’s teaching career began at the University of Michigan in 1958 and continued at UCLA until 1963. In 1963 he joined the faculty of the University of Chicago, where he remained until 1971, returning in that year to UCLA. He chaired UCLA Department of Economics from 1978 through 1980. From 1984 to 1995, he held the Arthur Andersen UCLA Alumni Chair in Business Economics and Directed UCLA’s Business Economics program.
He is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Director of the Mont Pelerin Society, and a past (1996) President of the Western Economics Association International. Northwestern University, in 1994, awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters, and, in 1996, he received an Honorary Doctorate in Social Science from Francisco Marroquin University. The recipient of the Western Economics Association Distinguished Teaching Award in 1981, he is the author of numerous articles, three books, and three published monographs containing honorary lectures. The monographs contain his F. De Vries Honorary Lectures in Economic Theory given at Erasmus University in the Netherlands in 1981, his Uppsala Lectures in Business given at Uppsala University in Sweden in 1991, and his Crafoord Lecture on U.S. Antitrust Policy given at Lund University in Sweden in 1992.
His Presidential Address to the Western Economics Association, titled “The Primacy of Economics: An Explanation of the Comparative Success of Economics in the Social Sciences,” appeared in the WEA Journal Economic Inquiry in January 1997. His most recent book, The Economics of the Firm: Seven Critical Commentaries, was published by Cambridge University Press in 1995 and has been translated into Spanish and Chinese.