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Harvard, the Chicago Tradition, and the Quantity Theory: A Reply to James Ahiakpor


  • David Laidler
  • Roger Sandilands


James Ahiakpor's critique of our 2002 work on the relationship between a certain 1932 Harvard memorandum on antidepression policies and the 1932 Harris Foundation manifesto dealing with the same issues misses the significance of these documents, and of the relationships between them, both for the literature of the time, and for later debates about the origins of 1930s Chicago ideas about monetary economics. He is correct to locate these documents in a more general quantity theoretic tradition, but his discussion here is marred by a serious misunderstanding of the so-called forced saving doctrine and its place in that tradition. Finally, Ahiakpor fails to appreciate that the absence of positive policy proposals from the 1934 Harvard studies of The Economics of the Recovery Program, a point that he himself notes, is a major contributing factor to that book's mediocrity.

Suggested Citation

  • David Laidler & Roger Sandilands, 2010. "Harvard, the Chicago Tradition, and the Quantity Theory: A Reply to James Ahiakpor," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 42(3), pages 573-592, Fall.
  • Handle: RePEc:hop:hopeec:v:42:y:2010:i:3:p:573-592

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tavlas, George S, 1997. "Chicago, Harvard, and the Doctrinal Foundations of Monetary Economics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 153-177, February.
    2. David Laidler & Roger Sandilands, 2000. "An Early Harvard Memorandum on anti-Depression Policies. Introductory Note," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 20004, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
    3. Robert W. DIMAND, 2003. "Competing Visions For The U.S. Monetary System, 1907-1913: The Quest For An Elastic Currency And The Rejection Of Fisher'S Compensated Dollar Rule For Price Stability," Cahiers d’économie politique / Papers in Political Economy, L'Harmattan, issue 45, pages 101-121.
    4. Laidler, David, 1993. "Hawtrey, Harvard, and the Origins of the Chicago Tradition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 1068-1103, December.
    5. Milton Friedman & Anna Jacobson Schwartz, 1970. "Introduction to "Monetary Statistics of the United States: Estimates, Sources, Methods"," NBER Chapters,in: Monetary Statistics of the United States: Estimates, Sources, Methods, pages 1-85 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Ahiakpor, James C. W., 2009. "The Phillips Curve Analysis: An Illustration Of The Classical Forced-Saving Doctrine," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 31(02), pages 143-160, June.
    7. Patinkin, Don, 1969. "The Chicago Tradition, the Quantity Theory, and Friedman," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 46-70, February.
    8. Johnson, Harry G, 1971. "The Keynesian Revolution and the Monetarist Counter-Revolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(2), pages 1-14, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Luca Fiorito & Sebastiano Nerozzi, 2016. "Chicago Economics in the Making, 1926-1940. A Further Look at US Interwar Pluralism," Department of Economics University of Siena 733, Department of Economics, University of Siena.

    More about this item


    Harvard; Harris Foundation;

    JEL classification:

    • B12 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Classical (includes Adam Smith)
    • B22 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Macroeconomics
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy


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