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Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Lecture Set for February 12

CONWAY, Ark. (January 17, 2018) – The Hendrix College chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society presents 2017-2018 Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Dr. Price Fishback on Monday, February 12 at 5 p.m. Fishback’s lecture, “The Long-Term Trends in Social Welfare Spending in the United States and the Nordic Countries,” will take place in Lecture Hall B of the Mills Social Sciences Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Fishback is Thomas R. Brown Professor of Economics at the University of Arizona, where in 2016 he received the Graduate Mentor and Teacher of the Year award. He is also the current executive director of the Economic History Association and a research associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research. The Cliometrics Society and the Economic History Association have honored him with numerous awards for his research and teaching of economic history. He focuses his work on Roosevelt’s New Deal and the Great Depression, housing booms and busts between 1920 and 1940, and the long-term effects of climate and government policy on agriculture. His books include Well Worth Saving: How the New Deal Safeguarded Homeownership; Government and the American Economy: A New History; and A Prelude to the Welfare State: The Origins of Workers’ Compensation.

Social welfare spending, as defined by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), includes pure transfer payments in dollars and in kind to the poor; spending by social insurance programs like old-age pensions, workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, and Medicare; and other expenditures on health care. The U.S. and the Nordic countries are seen as two extremes in the provision of social welfare spending, and Fishback’s presentation compares and contrasts the rise in spending over the past century. Much of the rise has come in the form of social insurance, funded by the contributions of workers and employers, while only a small part has come through pure transfer payments. To most people’s surprise, the U.S. spends as much as or more than the Nordic countries on social welfare spending, but they do it in quite different ways.

Since 1956, the Phi Beta Kappa Society’s Visiting Scholar Program has offered undergraduates the opportunity to spend time with some of America’s most distinguished scholars. The purpose of the program is to contribute to the intellectual life of the institution by making possible an exchange of ideas between the Visiting Scholars and the resident faculty and students. Fishback and 14 other men and women participating as Visiting Scholars during the 2017-2018 academic year will visit 110 colleges and universities with chapters of Phi Beta Kappa, spending two days on each campus and taking full part in the academic life of the institution. In addition to giving a lecture open to the entire academic community and the general public, they meet informally with students and faculty members, and participate in classroom discussions and seminars. 

For more information, contact Ginny McMurray, 501-450-1431 or

About Phi Beta Kappa

Founded in 1776, the Phi Beta Kappa Society is the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society. It has chapters at 286 colleges and universities and more than half a million members throughout the country. Its mission is to champion education in the liberal arts and sciences, to recognize academic excellence, and to foster freedom of thought and expression.

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit