Money and Growth: Selected Papers of Allyn Abbott Young

Money and Growth: Selected Papers of Allyn Abbott Young

Money and Growth: Selected Papers of Allyn Abbott Young

Money and Growth: Selected Papers of Allyn Abbott Young

Synopsis

This volume reprints the most significant contributions and lost works of Allyn Abbot Young, a central figure in the development of American economic thought, allowing full appreciation of his work.

Excerpt

In recent years, in the specialist literature on the history of economic thought, a picture has been emerging of Allyn Young as a central figure in the development of American economics (Blitch 1995). His fingerprints are everywhere: co-author of the best-selling textbook Outlines of Economics (Ely et al. 1908, 1916, 1923, 1930) and of two others besides (Riley 1924, Reed 1925); patient builder of professional infrastructure as head of the Stanford economics department (1906-1910) and Secretary of the fledgling American Economics Association (1914-1920); devoted public servant, most notably as chief economist and statistician for the American Commission to Negotiate the Peace at Paris; inspiring teacher of a generation of economists, most notably Frank Knight and Edward Chamberlin but including also Holbrook Working, Lauchlin Currie, James Angell, Arthur Marget, and Nicholas Kaldor.

Modern interest in Young stems less, however, from his contribution to the economics profession, than from his contribution to economic thought. Young’s 1928 presidential address to Section F of the British Association, titled “Increasing Returns and Economic Progress” has never lacked fans (Kaldor 1972, 1985; Currie 1981; Sandilands 1990), and the recent flurry of interest in theories of endogenous growth (Romer 1989; Currie 1997; Aghion and Howitt 1998) has brought Young’s thinking on growth to the attention of a much broader audience. By contrast, Young’s work on money and banking, the area of his special expertise, was largely forgotten. For example, Friedman and Schwartz in their comprehensive Monetary History of the United States (1963) make no mention of Young, not even of his book An Analysis of Bank Statistics for the United States (1928b). Only recently, with the work of Laidler (1993, 1998) and Mehrling (1996, 1997), has Young begun to come into focus as a figure of fundamental importance in the field of monetary economics, and this side of Young, it is fair to say, is still much less well known than the side concerned with economic growth.

Growth and Money, then, are the two themes of Young’s work and of this volume, the main aim of which is to make more widely available a number of key texts that, until now, were accessible only to specialists, and often not even to them. Even in the specialist literature, appreciation of Young has suffered because an unusual fraction of his output has been either unknown, or inaccessible. the bibliography at the end of the volume addresses the first problem, and the major bulk of the volume addresses the second. in this regard, the biggest “finds” are the

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