10 October 2019

Marcel Boumans appointed as professor in History of Economics

Marcel Boumans

As of 1 September 2019 Marcel Boumans is appointed as professor in the History of Economics at Utrecht University. Boumans is a professor at the Utrecht University School of Economics (U.S.E.) and his chair is partly financed by the Pierson Fonds. He considers the appointment to be honourable: 'It is recognition for my work, a kind of oeuvre award.’ 

In June 2020 Boumans will give his inaugural speech and he, as the current president of the international History of Economics Society, will host and organise the very first conference of the Society that will take place outside North America - in Utrecht. Moreover, in June, the presentation of the triennial Pierson Penning will also take place in Utrecht for the first time. All these academic festivities mark a special year for the History of Economics.

At my age (59) this is a kind of 'oeuvre award’, says Marcel Boumans about his appointment. ‘It is an great recognition for my work, and also certainly a recognition of the field of study. Therefore, I am very happy with this recognition. Worldwide, we are seeing a decline of chairs in the history of economics. But Utrecht University has now, against this trend, created a new chair for this field of study. This can also be seen as a strengthening of the Descartes Centre. I really appreciate the fact that I am in the position to propagate this field of study.

Whatever problem economists have to deal with, they arise in a context, there is history attached to it.
Marcel Boumans
Marcel Boumans

Cooperation with the Pierson Fonds

The new chair in History of Economics is special in various ways. It is, for instance, partly financed by the Pierson Fonds, a fund named after Nicolaas Pierson (1839-1909), an internationally oriented economist who was also the director of the Dutch National Bank and Minister of Finance. Boumans is just the third professor to hold this position, after Arnold Heertje and Albert Jolink. 

The Pierson Fonds not only co-finances the chair, but also awards the Pierson Penning every three years – to a scientist working in the Netherlands who has made important contributions to economics and preferably so in the tradition of Pierson.

‘In 2020 there will also be a presentation of the Pierson Penning,' says Boumans, 'and because I am holding the Pierson Chair, the board of the Fonds also wanted the presentation to take place in Utrecht. That's very special.’

History of Economics Society

Since June 2019, Marcel Boumans is for two years president of the History of Economics Society, an international association of researchers in the history of economics. The members meet annually during a conference. The upcoming meeting will take place in Utrecht in June 2020. That is also special, because it is the first time in the almost fifty-year history of the History of Economics Society that the conference takes place outside North America, where it was founded. 

Boumans is already beaming at the thought: 'What I especially like about the History of Economics Society is that there is an enormous amount of appreciation and acknowledgement for new talent. There is a special Young Scholar Programme and early career scholars are given ample opportunity to present their ideas. I'm going to work hard on that again during the conference in the Netherlands.’


These are the academic festivities we can expect in Utrecht in 2020: 

  • June 17, 2020: Symposium and presentation of the Pierson Penning organised by the Pierson Fonds
  • June 17, 2020: Inaugural lecture prof Marcel Boumans at the acceptance of his chair
  • 18 to 21 June 2020: Conference History of Economics Society

All activities take place in the Utrecht University Hall, Domplein 29 Utrecht, The Netherlands.