Mitchell, Wesley Clair, 1874–1948, American economist, b. Rushville, Ill. He received his Ph.D. (1899) from the Univ. of Chicago, where he studied under Thorstein Veblen and John Dewey, and he taught at several institutions, including the Univ. of California, Columbia, and the New School for Social Research. He also served on many government committees, was chairman of the President's Committee on Social Trends (1929–33), and helped found the National Bureau of Economic Research. One of the most eminent American economists, Mitchell questioned many of the tenets of orthodox economics and turned toward an institutional analysis based on behaviorist psychology. His chief researches were centered on investigation, often statistical, of the business cycle; his Business Cycles (1913, 2d ed. 1927) is his most important work. His other books include A History of the Greenbacks (1903), The Backward Art of Spending Money (1937), and Measuring Business Cycles (with A. F. Burns, 1946).
See biography (ed. by A. F. Burns, 1952).