EPS was founded in 1989 as Economists Against the Arms Race (ECAAR). The founder, Dr. Robert J. Schwartz, was inspired at a Moscow conference held by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. Dr. Schwartz returned to New York and began gathering together economists concerned about the nuclear danger.
Dr. Robert Eisner, one of the early advisors to Dr. Schwartz, recommended that the new organization recruit as many distinguished economists as possible, including Nobel laureates. The Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel was first awarded in 1969; one of the first recipients, Jan Tinbergen, was a founding trustee. Other founding Nobel laureates were Wassily Leontief, Franco Modigliani, James Tobin, Kenneth Arrow, and Lawrence R. Klein. Drs. Arrow and Klein were the first Co-Chairs of the Board of Directors, and continue to provide leadership and guidance. Other founding trustees were John Kenneth Galbraith, Andrew Brimmer and Barbara Bergmann.
In 1993, following the end of the US-Soviet arms race, ECAAR became Economists Allied for Arms Reduction. The organization continued its interest in nuclear issues, working especially to analyze the costs of nuclear waste disposal, to support the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and to expand its own network through the addition of affiliates around the world.
ECAAR received its NGO certification to two UN bodies, the Economic and Social Council and the Department of Public Information, in 1995. Nobel laureates continued to join our Board of Trustees, including Oscar Arias, Amartya Sen, Robert Solow, and Douglass North.
Dr. James K. Galbraith was recruited by the founding trustees to become Chair of the Board in 1996. Under his leadership ECAAR increased its presence in Washington, DC, undertook new research projects, and added affiliates. The Board of Trustees has continued to attract renowned economists, notably the Nobel laureates Joseph Stiglitz, George Akerlof, William Sharpe, and Daniel McFadden.
ECAAR became EPS in January 2005. The new name was chosen to reflect the full range of concerns of its members and program, and the increasingly complex interrelationships among disarmament, development, security, conflict, war and peace.