The Elgar Companion to John Maynard Keynes
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The Elgar Companion to John Maynard Keynes

Edited by Robert W. Dimand and Harald Hagemann

The most influential and controversial economist of the twentieth century, John Maynard Keynes was the leading founder of modern macroeconomics, and was also an important historical figure as a critic of the Versailles Peace Treaty after World War I and an architect of the Bretton Woods international monetary system after World War II. This comprehensive Companion elucidates his contributions, his significance, his historical context and his continuing legacy.
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Chapter 50: Dennis Holme Robertson

Charles Goodhart and Mauro Boianovsky

Abstract

Much of what is now taken as mainstream macroeconomics derives more from Robertson, than from Keynes. For example, that there is an equilibrium (nowadays described as NAIRU) in the labour market, and that any attempt to push demand above that level will end in spiralling inflation; that the (quasi-)equilibrium real interest rate is determined by real forces of thrift and productivity; and that monetary policy is potent and should be primarily aimed at maintaining price stability. The collaboration between Keynes and Robertson in the 1920s resulted in several major works, although none published under joint authorship. The 1930s witnessed less of a combined effort. Each went their separate ways, Robertson developing his theory of fluctuations around full employment (“normal” unemployment), while Keynes worked on short-run unemployment equilibrium. After 1936 they became involved in debates over aspects of Keynes’s theories, especially the determination of the rate of interest.

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