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A Review of Pre-Keynesian Neoclassical Business Cycle Theory


  • Christopher K. Manner

    () (Ph. D., Union University, Jackson TN, USA)


Although some practicing economists believe there was no macroeconomics before Keynes, historians of economic thought recognize a rich and varied stream of literature on monetary and business cycle theory that predate and form the context for Keynes’s General Theory. Accordingly, the present paper examines many of the popular Neoclassicalbusiness cycle theories developed prior to the Keynesian Revolution. There are several valuable classifications of these theories; however, it is common to sort the writings on business cycles according to the cause attributed. In particular, this paper will follow an early twentieth century convention, using the terms “originating cause†and “self-generating cycle†to describe the various business cycle theories.Originating causes, such as war and weather, keep the business system in a continual state of unbalance. The business responses to those originating causes create a self-generating cycle of recurrent upward and downward movements in economic activity. This paper should prove useful to teachers (and students) of macroeconomics who wish to complement their technical material with a historical perspective.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher K. Manner, 2016. "A Review of Pre-Keynesian Neoclassical Business Cycle Theory," Journal of Commerce and Trade, Society for Advanced Management Studies, vol. 11(1), pages 7-15, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:jct:journl:v:11:y:2016:i:1:p:7-15

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John Maurice Clark, 1934. "Strategic Factors in Business Cycles," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number clar34-1, July-Dec.
    2. Moore, Henry Ludwell, 1914. "Economics Cycles: Their law and cause," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number moore1914.
    3. Minnie Throop England, 1915. "Promotion as the Cause of Crises," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(4), pages 748-767.
    4. Wesley Clair Mitchell, 1927. "Business Cycles: The Problem and Its Setting," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number mitc27-1, July-Dec.
    5. Carlos Garcia-Mata & Felix I. Shaffner, 1934. "Solar and Economic Relationships: A Preliminary Report," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(1), pages 1-51.
    6. Wesley Clair Mitchell, 1927. "Introductory pages to "Business Cycles: The Problem and Its Setting"," NBER Chapters,in: Business Cycles: The Problem and Its Setting, pages -23 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item


    Business Cycle Theory; Neoclassical School; Originating Cause; and Self-Generating Cycle.;

    JEL classification:

    • A0 - General Economics and Teaching - - General
    • C0 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General


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