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James Anthony Lawson on commercial panics and their recurrence

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  • Besomi, Daniele

Abstract

In a paper read in 1848 before the Dublin Statistical Society, James Anthony Lawson propounded a theory of commercial crises based on a credit-overtrading-speculation mechanism. This view was quite widespread at the time, but it was couched in an original reinterpretation of the causal relationships. Lawson's epistemic premise that laws must be universal and that similar causes must entail similar effects implied that crises were no longer seen as disconnected events but as instances of the same class of events. This was one of the most important ingredients in the transition from the theories of crises towards theories of the business cycle.

Suggested Citation

  • Besomi, Daniele, 2008. "James Anthony Lawson on commercial panics and their recurrence," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 330-341, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:streco:v:19:y:2008:i:4:p:330-341
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. R. F. Harrod, 1934. "Doctrines of Imperfect Competition," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(3), pages 442-470.
    2. Mill, John Stuart, 1874. "Essays on Some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, edition 2, number mill1874.
    3. Ricardo, David, 1821. "On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, edition 3, number ricardo1821.
    4. Ingram, John Kells, 1888. "A History of Political Economy," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number ingram1888.
    5. Daniele Besomi, 2006. "Tendency to Equilibrium, the Possibility of Crisis, and the History of Business Cycle Theories," History of Economic Ideas, Fabrizio Serra Editore, Pisa - Roma, vol. 14(2), pages 53-104.
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