Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert
Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz
Chapter 112: Hyman Philip Minsky (1919–1996)
Hyman P. Minsky (1919–1996) studied at the University of Chicago and, after a stint in World War II, earned his PhD at Harvard University. His biggest influences were the Chicago School’s intuitionalist tradition (especially Henry Simons, but he also worked with Oscar Lange, Paul Douglas and Frank Knight) and Harvard’s Joseph Schumpeter. He taught at Brown University, the University of California at Berkeley, and Washington University. When he retired from teaching in 1990, he moved to the Levy Economics Institute as Distinguished Scholar, where he remained until his death. While he served as Alvin Hansen’s teaching assistant at Harvard, he later remarked that the “mechanistic” approach of what Joan Robinson called the “Bastard Keynesians” did not appeal to him. Although J.M. Keynes clearly influenced him, he did not have much affinity with the post-war American “Keynesians”. From his earliest work, he was more interested in dynamic, evolutionary change with institutional constraints. Indeed, in one of his first papers he took Paul Samuelson’s linear-accelerator model and added institutional “ceilings and floors”. Minsky’s approach to banking drew heavily on Jack Gurley and E.S. Shaw while adapting Schumpeter’s theory of innovation to analysis of the financial sector. During the 1960s he was involved in major studies of monetary policy formation and banking regulation, doing research for the Federal Reserve’s (the Fed) Board of Governors and for the California state banking commission. Later, after moving to Washington University, he served on the board of a Missouri bank holding company, and he developed close...
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