UMass Boston Professor Organizes National Conference Session on Economist Jean Baptiste-Say

Colleen Locke | August 07, 2017
UMass Boston Professor Organizes National Conference Session on Economist Jean Baptiste-Say

Image by: Colleen Locke

Contrary to a widespread and erroneous interpretation, Say's message was that money and credit mattered.

Guy Numa’s Session Part of the American Economic Association’s 2018 Conference

Assistant Professor of Economics Guy Numa, who holds a joint appointment in the Honors College, is organizing a session on 19th-century French economist Jean-Baptiste Say for the American Economic Association’s annual conference, the largest gathering of economists in the world.

Numa and two other scholars will present their papers on Say during a session sponsored by the History of Economics Society. The session is called “Beyond Say’s Law: Reappraising Jean-Baptiste Say’s Political Economy.” Numa’s paper deals with Say’s thoughts on money and demonstrates that what Say’s Law says isn’t necessarily what Say himself thought.

“Say’s Law says money is only a medium of exchange. If supply equals demand, money has no role. In fact, in Jean-Baptiste Say’s writings, money is analyzed as finance, meaning that money does play a role in the economy,” Numa told UMass Boston Today. “Contrary to a widespread and erroneous interpretation, Say's message was that money and credit mattered, and that it could affect essential economic variables such as demand, sales, and output.”

The other two papers discuss Say’s takes on market adjustments and statistics, with all three challenging widely held views about Say and discussing his relevance to modern economists, 250 years after his birth. Numa, who is entering his third year teaching at UMass Boston, said the selection process was very competitive.

“This selection shows that more experienced scholars from various horizons acknowledge the relevance of my research, and are ready to get on board,” Numa said. “The fact that my session was selected for this international conference also shows that my work on Say has a contemporary relevance.”

The session will raise the profile of UMass Boston’s Honors College and the Economics Department among the 13,000 academic and professional economists who attend the AEA conference each year. The 2018 conference will be held in Philadelphia in January.

About UMass Boston
The University of Massachusetts Boston is deeply rooted in the city's history, yet poised to address the challenges of the future. Recognized for innovative research, metropolitan Boston’s public university offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s 11 colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 17,000 students while engaging local and global constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service. To learn more, visit

Tags: economics , guy numa , honors , jean-baptiste say , say's law

Comment on this story

Comments (0)