Gerald Friedman, professor of economics, has research interests in the areas of economic history, specifically 19th- and 20th-century France and the US; political economies; and the economics of healthcare. He has drafted financing plans for single-payer healthcare systems, and has served on the editorial boards of several academic journals.


Ph.D., Economics, Harvard University, 1986. Dissertation: Politics and Unions: Government, Ideology, and the Labor Movement in the United States and France, 1880-1914.

B.A., Economics and History, Columbia University, 1977

Professional Experience:

University of Massachusetts at Amherst: Department of Economics, September 1984-present

Tufts University: Department of Economics, Lecturer, September 1983-June 1984

Clark University: Department of Economics, Part-time Instructor, Spring 1983

International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union: Research Assistant, June 1977-July 1978

Research Interests:

Economic History: 19th and 20th century United States

New World Slavery: 19th and 20th century France

Labor History: Europe and North America

Labor Economics

Political Economy

The Economics of Health Care

Honors and Awards:

German Marshall Fund of the United States Fellowship, 1989-90

Certificate of Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, Harvard-Danforth Center for Teaching, Harvard University, 1981

Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude from Columbia University

Professional Activities:

  • Drafted financing plans for single-payer health care systems for Maryland, Massachusetts and the United States.
  • Associate Editor of Labor History 2003-present.
  • Member of the Editorial Board, The Journal of Economic History (September 1994 - 1998).
  • Member of the Editorial Board, The American Journal of Sociology (September 1995 - 1997).


American Economic Association

Economic History Association

Labor and Working Class History Association

Social Science History Association

Society for French Historical Studies

Selected Publications:

Reigniting the Labor Movement: Restoring means to ends in a democratic Labor Movement (London and New York, Routledge, 2007).

State-Making and Labor Movements. The United States and France, 1876-1914 (Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1998).

“Success and Failure in Third Party Politics: The Knights of Labor and the Union Labor Coalition in Massachusetts, 1884-88” International Labor and Working Class History 62 (Fall 2002), 164-88.

“What is Wrong with Economics? And What will Make it Right?” Working USA (Fall 2000), 133-47.

“The Political Economy of Early Southern Unionism: Race, Politics, and Labor in the South, 1880-1953,” Journal of Economic History 60 (June 2000), 384-413.

“New Estimates of United States Union Membership, 1880-1914,” Historical Methods 32 (Spring 1999), 75-86.

“Revolutionary Syndicalism and French Labor: The Rebels Behind the Cause” French Historical Studies (Spring 1997).

“Worker Militancy and its Consequences: Political Responses to Labor Unrest in the United States, 1877-1914,” International Labor and Working Class History (Fall 1991), 5-17.

“Capitalism, Socialism, Republicanism and the State: France 1877-1914” Social Science History 14:1 (Spring 1990), 151-74.

“The State and the Making of the Working Class, France and the United States 1880-1914,” in Theory and Society (May 1988), 403-30.

“Strike Success and Union Ideology, the United States and France, 1880-1914,” Journal of Economic History (March 1988), 1-25.

“The Heights of Slaves in Trinidad,” Social Science History (November 1982), 482-515.

By this expert

Why Liberal Economists Dish Out Despair

Article | Apr 20, 2016

Orthodox macroeconomics has become a place where visions die and hopes are banished, for both liberals and conservatives.

Different Models, Different Politics

Article | Mar 9, 2016

Gerald Friedman responds to the Romers on the Sanders Plan.

Featuring this expert

When Economists Attack

Article Apr 20, 2016

How Gerald Friedman’s assessment of Bernie Sanders economic proposals prompted a rare public political spat among economists.