The Association for Institutional Thought

Association for Institutional Thought (AFIT)

The Association for Institutional Thought (AFIT) is an organization devoted to encouraging and fostering the development of institutional thought in extension and modification of the contributions of Thorstein Veblen, John Dewey, Clarence Ayres, John Commons, Wesley Mitchell and others. They offer their ideas and the ideas of other Institutionalists as a basis for inquiry into the interrelationships of society.  AFIT was officially organized on April 27, 1979 at the 21st annual conference of the Western Social Science Association.

Association for Institutional Thought

2020 Virtual Meeting on the Information Superhighway

Call for Papers

The 41st Annual Meeting of the Association for Institutional Thought was originally scheduled to take place on April 1-4, 2020, in Portland, Oregon.  It will now be hosted online with proceedings beginning on June 10th, 2020, with a registration deadline of May 26th.  These proceedings will be asynchronous.  Presenters can upload their papers, slideshows (e.g. PowerPoints), or presentation videos, and engage in discussion online between June and the closing of the proceedings in September.  

The conference theme remains unchanged, but is summarized below.  Following that you can find information on participation, registration, and the submission process on the virtual conference platform.

Note, if you did not plan to participate in the Portland meetings, you can still participate in this virtual conference.  There are a variety of ways to participate, which you can review in the “Participation” section below. 

Although there are aspects of an in-person conference that can never be replicated online, we encourage AFIT members to consider the potential advantages of an online modality.  These include a diversity of options for presenting your work, the possibility for more thorough discussion, and a wider audience.

We hope to see you (virtually) in June.  Please direct questions and comments to Erik Dean at

Learn more here >>

The Frederic S. Lee Heterodox Economics Scholarship Fund


Deadline for the Spring 2020 application is November 15, 2019.

Call for Contributions

Fred Lee fought hard to build and maintain the community of heterodox economists since he believed that a future of heterodox economics hinged upon all the efforts we make to develop heterodox economics and to educate students. As Bruce Cronin said: “He was not content to be an armchair academic but built institutions to carry heterodox research and teaching forward independently of any individuals.... On hearing of his cancer diagnosis, Fred’s reaction was not to wallow in regret but to immediately establish a Heterodox Economics Scholarship Fund, to support graduate students studying in heterodox economics.”

The Frederic S. Lee Heterodox Economics Scholarship Fund was established in 2014 with a sizable contribution from Fred and Ruth Lee, along with contributions from many others. In the five years since his death, the Fund has awarded over $41,000 in scholarships to a total of 13 PhD students at several universities. These students have been studying at the University of Missouri–Kansas City, the New School for Social Research, and American University.

A scholarship recipient said that:

"After I found out I wasn’t going to receive the GTA position I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to do. I was considering taking a break and saving money, but now I can continue seamlessly from my undergraduate into my graduate studies, which is ultimately the best option. I look forward to my studies and their challenges, and I look forward to expanding my mind and experiencing new things. And although I have never met him, I feel proud of knowing I have this scholarship in the name of Fred Lee, he’s basically a legend in the heterodox economics world, and even more, to be going to UMKC where he taught and helped transform the department, and now I’m in it for the long haul, not just for my graduate studies."


Another recipient also appreciated the scholarship.

"I was very happy and appreciative to learn that I was selected as the recipient of your scholarship. I was admitted to PhD Economics program at the New School for Social Research; however, due to the limited funding I was only awarded 50% tuition remission scholarship from the school. Therefore, this scholarship is very important to me to fund my expense to continue my study in the heterodox economics field. You have lightened my financial burden which allows me to focus more on the most important aspect of school, learning. Your generosity has inspired me to help others and give back to the community. I hope one day I will be able to help students achieve their goals just as you have helped me."

In order to continue to support graduate students who will be the future of heterodox economics, the Scholarship Fund will need to generate more funds. Your contribution is greatly appreciated. Donations can be made at


Call for Applications

The Frederic S. Lee Heterodox Economics Scholarship Fund is now accepting applications for the Spring 2020 semester. In order to be eligible, students must be enrolled in a doctoral heterodox economics program in the United States and demonstrate financial need. The fund will not provide scholarship aid for dissertation credit hours or for credit hours that are not directly relevant for the completion of the doctoral program’s course work. More information including the selection criteria and the on-line application can be found at The deadline for the Spring 2020 application is November 15, 2019. Please forward this call to eligible students.

The Association for Institutional Thought and The Association of Evolutionary Economics

15th Annual Student Scholars Award Competition

The Association for Institutional Thought (AFIT) is proud to announce its Fiftheen Annual AFIT-AFEE Student Scholars Award Competition.  This competition seeks to encourage undergraduate and graduate students to pursue research topics in the field of Evolutionary-Institutional Economics, and related heterodox schools of thought such as Social and Solidarity Economics, Post-Colonial Studies, and other pluralist methodologies.  As a professional association, AFIT is devoted to encouraging and fostering the development of institutional thought. Extensions and modifications of the foundational contributions of Thorstein Veblen, John Dewey, Clarence Ayers, John Commons, Wesley Mitchell, as well as Karl Polanyi, Gunnar Myrdal, Hyman Minsky, John Kenneth Galbraith, as well as new Evolutionary-Institutional approaches that advance the fields of social sciences and humanities are welcome. Students doing research in this vein are encouraged to submit papers that carry on and further advance Evolutionary-Institutional Economics.  

Click here for more information