Deirdre N. McCloskey
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Deirdre McCloskey teaches economics, history, English, and communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago. A well-known economist, historian, and rhetorician, she has written twelve books and some 350 shorter scholarly pieces on topics ranging from technical economics and statistics to transgender advocacy and the ethics of the bourgeois virtues. She is known as a conservative economist, Chicago-School style, but protests that the description doesn’t capture her well. “I’m a literary, quantitative, postmodern, scientific, free-market, progressive Episcopalian, Midwestern woman economist and historian from Boston who was once a man. Does that sound simply ‘conservative’?!”

Her latest book, with Stephen Ziliak, The Cult of Statistical Significance: How the Standard Error Costs Jobs, Justice, and Lives (2008), criticizes the proliferation of meaningless tests of significance in economics, psychology, and medicine. Her Crossing: A Memoir was a New York Times Notable Book in 1999. Her book, The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce (University of Chicago Press, 2006), asks if you can be a participant in a capitalist economy and still have an ethical life. It is the first of six books in progress called as a group The Bourgeois Era, offering a full-scale defense of capitalism, aimed at people who think it needs one McCloskey lives in Chicago with her Norwich terrier, Will Shakespeare. She participated once before in the Conference: “What a feast!”