Andrew Yarrow, PhD History ’06, has published Measuring America: How Economic Growth Came to Define American Greatness in the Late Twentieth Century (University of Massachusetts Press). The book notes that in economically troubled times such as ours, the public and politicians commonly take a gloomy view of the state of the nation because of a host of economic metrics. Conversely, during boom times, they point to a range of positive economic data as evidence of American greatness. Yet, it hasn’t always been that way. These quantitative measures first emerged after World War II, and since then they have had a profound impact on shaping American identity and its citizens’ values. This book is not an economic or political history, although it touches on both, but rather an analysis of how and why ideas and facts about the economy increasingly have influenced American identity.
Dr. Yarrow teaches history at American University and is vice president and Washington director of Public Agenda.
November 17, 2010