Steven Medema, PhD
Steven Medema, PhD • Distinguished Professor of Economics • President's Teaching Scholar

Office Location: Lawrence Street Center 470M

Areas of Expertise:
The History of Economic Thought

PhD, Economics, Michigan State University, 1989
MA, Economics, Michigan State University, 1987
BA, Economics, Calvin College, 1985

Dr. Medema is Distinguished Professor of Economics and Director of CU Denver's University Honors and Leadership Program. His research focuses on the history of twentieth-century economics, and his current project analyzes the origins, diffusion, and controversies over the Coase theorem in economics, law and beyond. His 2009 book, The Hesitant Hand: Taming Self-Interest in the History of Economic Ideas (Princeton), was awarded the 2010 Book Prize by the European Society for the History of Economic Thought. Dr. Medema teaches courses in microeconomics and the history of economic thought. Dr. Medema was designated a University of Colorado President's Teaching Scholar in 2008 and named a CU Distinguished Professor in 2013. Dr. Medema served as Editor of the Journal of the History of Economic Thought from 1999-2008 and currently serves as General Editor of ​Oxford Studies in the History of Economics, a book series published by Oxford University Press. He is a member of the editorial boards of several history of economics journals and served as President of the History of Economics Society for 2009-10.

Selected Publications

Market Failure in Context (edited with Alain Marciano), Durham: Duke University Press, 2015.

"1966 and All That: The Birth of the Coase Theorem Controversy," Journal of the History of Economic Thought 36 (September 2014): 271-303.

"The Curious Treatment of the Coase Theorem in Environmental Economics 1960-1979," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy 8 (Winter 2014): 39-57.

"Public Choice and the Notion of Creative Communities," History of Political Economy 43 (Spring 2011): 225-246.

"Chicago Price Theory and Chicago Law and Economics," in Rob Van Horn, Philip Mirowski, and Thomas Stapleford, eds., Building Chicago Economics: New Perspectives on the History of America's Most Powerful Economics Program. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, pp. 151-79.

The Hesitant Hand: Taming Self-Interest in the History of Economic Ideas. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009. 

Economics and the Law: From Posner to Post Modernism and Beyond, 2nd edition (with Nicholas Mercuro). Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006.

Ronald H. Coase. London and New York: Macmillan and St. Martin's Press, 1994.

"Defining Economics: The Long Road to the Acceptance of the Robbins Definition" (with Roger E. Backhouse), Economica 76 (October 2009): 805-820.

"On the Definition of Economics" (with Roger E. Backhouse), Journal of Economic Perspectives 23 (Winter 2009): 221-33.

"Losing My Religion: Sidgwick, Theism, and the Struggle for Utilitarian Ethics in Economic Analysis," History of Political Economy 40 (Supplement 2008): 189-211.

"Wandering the Road From Pluralism to Posner: The Transformation of Law and Economics, 1920s-1970s." The Transformation of American Economics: From Interwar Pluralism to Postwar Neoclassicism: History of Political Economy Annual Supplement 30 (1998): 202-24. 

ECON 2022: Principles of Microeconomics
UNHL 3820: The Economics of Life
ECON 4071: Intermediate Microeconomics
ECON 4091/5090: The History of Economic Thought