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Kenneth Button

This chapter looks at the considerable fluctuations in the various industries that constitute the aviation sector. It focuses on the nature of the institutional changes that have taken place since the late 1970s and the outcomes of the liberalization of the airlines and, albeit to a lesser extent, airports and air traffic control. While the overall pattern has been one of net social gains, these have not been with wild swings over time in the financial stability of the industries involved. This has been, in the case of airlines, accompanied by bankruptcies and consolidation of large suppliers. The argument presented is that while external factors, and especially global shifts in demand and in fuel prices, have played a role, the pattern is also indicative of the scheduled competitive airline market being characterized by an empty core problem.

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The Value of Applied Economics

The Life and Work of Arthur (A.J.) Brown

Kenneth Button

This biography of the applied English economist Arthur (A.J.) Brown, an English economist from the late 1930s to the 1980s, sets his work in the context of the Great Depression, the emergence of Oxford University as a centre of applied economic research, the contraction of British colonialism in Africa, the enlarging of the UK university system, the post –war arms race, the UK joining the Common Market, and significant changes in the industrial structure of Britain.
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The development of an applied economist

The Life and Work of Arthur (A.J.) Brown

Kenneth Button

Brown’s early life and education is described, along with the socio-economic environment of the part of the UK he was brought up in. An account is offered of the economics education at Oxford University in the 1930s and the influence of Keynes on the way economics was treated. The chapter provides an outline of the courses taught in the philosophy, politics, and economics (PPE) degree and some of the individuals involved in that teaching.

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Early career and Keynesianism

The Life and Work of Arthur (A.J.) Brown

Kenneth Button

This chapter looks initially at the institutions and research groupings that were emerging in Oxford in the late 1930s, and the roles of key figures such as Roy Harrod, James Meade, and Jacob Marschak in shaping their direction, and especially that of A.J. Brown. It outlines Brown’s own contribution on liquidity preference in both his doctoral dissertation and subsequent early publications. It also looks at his time in the civil service during World War II, initial ties with Chatham House, and his extensive publication in the Bulletin of International News.

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African decolonization and world disarmament

The Life and Work of Arthur (A.J.) Brown

Kenneth Button

Brown served on the Raisman Commission that reported on the challenges of decolonization of British East Africa, and as a member of the Advisory Group on Central Africa. The chapter sets out his participation in these two ventures as one of the main economists on one and as the economic expert on the other. It focuses on the way Brown applied trade and development economics to the issues that were encountered is this period of radical change in Africa. Brown, along with the likes of Oscar Lange and Wassily Leontief, also served in 1960 as the British representative in the United Nations consultative group on Economic and Social Consequences of Disarmament that explored the likely effects of large-scale disarmament on national incomes and employment. It considers Brown’s quantitative contributions to the group.

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Building an economics department

The Life and Work of Arthur (A.J.) Brown

Kenneth Button

This chapter focuses on Brown’s activities at Leeds University, especially regarding the Economics Department that he served and was head of for an extended period from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s. This is set in the more general context of the evolutionary changes that were taking place in English higher education at that time. It also outlines his views on the nature of an economics department and on the senior management of one.

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Brown’s later activities

The Life and Work of Arthur (A.J.) Brown

Kenneth Button

This chapter covers Brown’s later activities at Leeds University, when he was among (other things) a senior pro-vice-chancellor, and his work after retiring from Leeds. The latter includes serving on the Donald MacDougall Commission, a European Commission (EC) Study Group of independent economists charged with examining the future role of public finance at the Community level in the general context of European economic integration. The chapter also considers Brown’s later work, World Inflation Since 1950 (1985), in which he updates and expands his earlier analysis of the subject, making use of advances in econometric techniques, new theories of price inflation, and improved data sets.

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Foreword by Henry Brown and William Brown

The Life and Work of Arthur (A.J.) Brown

Kenneth Button

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The “Phillips Curve” and inflation

The Life and Work of Arthur (A.J.) Brown

Kenneth Button

Brown’s Great Inflation, published in 1955, is a wide-ranging examination of inflation around the world post-World War II. In it, Brown produced what amounted to an early version of the Phillips Curve, which ties wage-rate changes to unemployment levels. This chapter provides an account of Brown’s analysis, set within the context of the economics of the time, the other economists who were involved in studying inflation, and regarding Phillips’s later paper and the work of Samuelson and Solow in the USA. It offers an account of Brown’s views on inflationary policies in a cost-push context.

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Regional economic policy and the Hunt Committee

The Life and Work of Arthur (A.J.) Brown

Kenneth Button

Brown was an important regional economist, publishing a major book on the subject (The Framework of Regional Economics in the United Kingdom), and served on the Hunt Committee that reported on the state of the UK regions. This chapter focuses on his approach to the subject and to matters such as: the inadequacy of disaggregate spatial data; the importance of retaining employment in depressed areas; the role of infrastructure in local economic development in the UK; and the comparison between the UK’s regional problems and those of other countries. In his work on the Hunt Committee, he specifically and quantitatively examines the UK’s Intermediate Regions—those that were likely to suffer economic downturns soon—and the types of policy that could stave off severe economic depression.