International Organizations and the Analysis of Economic Policy, 1919-1950

International Organizations and the Analysis of Economic Policy, 1919-1950

International Organizations and the Analysis of Economic Policy, 1919-1950

International Organizations and the Analysis of Economic Policy, 1919-1950

Synopsis

This 2002 book expands our understanding of the distinctive policy analysis produced between 1919 and 1950 by economists and other social scientists for four major international organizations: the League of Nations, the International Labor Organization, the Bank for International Settlements, and the United Nations. These practitioners included some of the twentieth century's eminent economists, including Cassel, Haberler, Kalecki, Meade, Morgenstern, Nurkse, Ohlin, Tinbergen, and Viner. Irving Fisher and John Maynard Keynes also influenced the work of these organizations. Topics covered include: the relationship between economics and policy analysis in international organizations; business cycle research; the role and conduct of monetary policy; public investment; trade policy; social and labor economics; international finance; the coordination problem in international macroeconomic policy; full employment economics; and the rich-country-poor-country debate. Normative agendas underlying international political economy are made explicit, and lessons are distilled for today's debates on international economic integration.

Excerpt

This book is the culmination of eight years' research. It began with correspondence between the authors and Janie Gummer, the daughter of E. J. Riches, in 1993. Janie informed us that Riches, international civil servant and former ilo Deputy Director, was close to death and that some of his personal papers may be of interest to historically minded economists at the University of Auckland. These papers alerted us to the work of economists at the International Labor Organization. We were especially stimulated by conversations with A. W. (Bob) Coats when he visited the Antipodes in the mid-1990s; his unflagging enthusiasm for extending work on the intellectual history of economics to include the work completed by special cadres of economists and social scientists in both government and international agencies had a lasting influence, as the following pages attest.

The path to the final manuscript has been made easier by the wealth of comments from countless academic colleagues. We acknowledge the benefits of comments and conversations with conference participants at the History of Economic Thought Society of Australia conference (Freemantle), the European History of Economic Thought conference (Marseille), and two Economic Society of Australia Annual conferences (Canberra and Melbourne). More vigorous exchanges in seminars at the Australian National University, Duke University, King's College Cambridge University, University of Auckland, University of New South Wales, and University of Western Australia have sharpened our arguments and challenged our framework.

Research funding from the Australian Research Council Small Grant scheme (S6204012) helped us travel to key archival sources in Geneva where we received enthusiastic support from archival staff. They were not generally accustomed to having economists explore their records and that indicates just how much modern practitioners in the discipline have forgotten the value of these rich data sets. We are obliged in particular . . .

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