ECON 42800: Creativity

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This seminar will study why and how creative people innovate. The emphasis will be on understanding the process by which innovators work, and measuring the timing of their creativity over the life cycle. Examples will be drawn principally from the arts – important modern painters. Including Cézanne and Picasso; poets, including Eliot and Frost; novelists, including Woolf and Hemingway; movie directors, including Welles and Godard; architects, including Corbusier and Gehry; and songwriters, including Dylan and the Beatles. The principal assignment will be a term paper that will examine the creative life cycle of one or more innovators of the student’s choice; students will present this research in progress to the class during the second half of the quarter. The empirical study of individual creativity is a new field, and there are many excellent research opportunities for students. The course will be taught by David W. Galenson Winter Quarter 2014.

David W. Galenson is Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago; Academic Director of the Center for Creativity Economics at the Universidad del CEMA, Buenos Aires; and a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. He is also Contributing Editor to The Art Economist magazine and a blogger for the Huffington Post. He has been a visiting professor at the California Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Texas at Austin, the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and the American University of Paris.

He is author of Old Masters and Young Geniuses: The Two Life Cycles of Artistic Creativity (Princeton University Press, 2006), Painting Outside The Lines: Patterns of Creativity in Modern Art (Harvard University Press, 2001), Traders, Planters and Slaves: Market Behavior in Early English America (Cambridge University Press, 1986), and White Servitude in Colonial America: An Economic Analysis (Cambridge University Press, 1981).

His most recent work examines the economics of creativity.