Biography

Thomas Doerflinger, PhD is a prominent observer of American capitalism – past, present and future.  Trained as a historian at Princeton and Harvard (where he won the Bowdoin Prize for Graduate Essays), he wrote A Vigorous Spirit of Enterprise: Merchants and Economic Development in Revolutionary Philadelphia, winner of the 1987 Bancroft Prize. The book explains how the multiple risks confronting American merchants created an aggressive entrepreneurial culture that drove economic growth.  Doerflinger is also an expert on the early American iron industry, about which he has written three scholarly articles.  His second book, Risk and Reward: Venture Capital and the Making of America’s Great Industries (coauthored with Jack L. Rivkin) shows how entrepreneurs in six industries, ranging from the railroads to biotech, interacted with Wall Street as they were getting off the ground.  (See list of publications below.)  Doerflinger spent over twenty-five years on Wall Street as a senior equity strategist at PaineWebber and UBS.  His influential reports on thematic investing covered such diverse topics as income inequality, benign deflation, the virtues of dividend growth stocks and the threat to job growth posed by healthcare reform.  One of his reports was cited in the Republican presidential debates and posted on Senator Tom Coburn’s website. For over twenty years Doerflinger’s monthly forecasts of S&P 500 profits were widely followed globally.  During the three years Doerflinger chaired the committee managing the UBS U.S. Key Call List, it significantly outperformed the S&P 500.

Publications

A Vigorous Spirit of Enterprise: Merchants and Economic Development in Revolutionary Philadelphia (Chapel Hill, 1986)

(with Jack L. Rivkin), Risk and Reward: Venture Capital and the Making of America’s Great Industries (New York, 1987)

“Hibernia Furnace during the Revolution,” New Jersey History, Vol. 90 (1971-1972), 97-114.

“The Antilles Trade of the Old Regime: A Statistical Overview,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Vol. 6, No. 3 (Winter, 1976), pp 397-415.

“Philadelphia Merchants and the Logic of Moderation, 1760-1775,” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series. Vol. 40, No. 2 (Apr., 1983), pp 197-226.

“How to Run an Ironworks,” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 108, No. 3 (July, 1984), pp 351-366.

“Farmers and Dry Goods in the Philadelphia Market Area, 1750-1800,” in The Economy of Early America: The Revolutionary Period, 1763-1790 (Charlottesville, 1988).

“’How to Succeed in Business, an Exchange,” The New York Review of Books, July 11, 1996.

“Rural Capitalism in Iron Country: Staffing a Forest Factory, 1808-1815,” The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, Vol. 59, No. 1 (Jan., 2002), pp 3-38.

 

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