Unsung Economists: Edith Penrose : Planet Money Edith Penrose transformed our understanding of how businesses grow, and also lived a remarkable life full of adventure, intrigue, and tragedy.
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Unsung Economists: Edith Penrose

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Unsung Economists: Edith Penrose

Unsung Economists: Edith Penrose

Unsung Economists: Edith Penrose

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SOAS University of London
Edith Penrose gives a lecture
SOAS University of London

In the latest in our series on unsung economists, we throw the spotlight on Edith Penrose. She led a remarkable life: during World War II, she helped some of her colleagues escape the Nazis. After the war she assisted Eleanor Roosevelt in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And all that was before she got a PhD in economics from Johns Hopkins University.

As an economist, Edith Penrose became an expert in the oil market and helped set up the economics department at the University of Baghdad in Iraq. She studied the tense relationships between big multinational firms and the small countries in which they operated. But she is perhaps best known for her contribution to the study of how a business scales from small to big. The ideas put forth in her seminal book The Theory of the Growth of the Firm are still taught today and are even enjoying something of a renaissance. Today on The Indicator, the groundbreaking work and remarkable life of Edith Penrose.

Music: "Bourbon Street Blues"

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