Edited by Robert W. Dimand and Harald Hagemann
Chapter 56: William H. Beveridge
Beveridge, author of Unemployment: A Problem of Industry (1909, 1930) and director of the London School of Economics from 1919 to 1937, was the leading pre-Keynesian British expert on the functioning of the labour market. Contrary to Keynes’s General Theory, Beveridge emphasized frictional and structural unemployment rather than demand-deficient unemployment; he helped fund Britain’s labour exchanges before World War I, and the Beveridge curve relating unemployment and job vacancies is named for him. Beveridge debated Keynes on trends in population and terms of trade in the early 1920s, and on tariffs as a response to unemployment and an overvalued pound in the early 1930s. The Beveridge Report of 1942 was enormously influential in the creation of the British welfare state, and Beveridge’s Full Employment in a Free Society (1944) called for government intervention to keep unemployment down to levels that even Keynes doubted could be maintained in peacetime.
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