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Economists and Australian Wage policy Before World War II


  • Keith Hancock

    () (Flinders University)


Before the 1920s, Australian economics was virtually non-existent; but in the twenty years before World War II there was a conspicuous growth in the body of professional economists, located mainly in the universities. The system of wage fixation caught the attention of some of them. The paper discusses the economists’ commentaries on and contributions to wage policy in relation to (1) proposals in the 1920s for relating money wages to ‘productivity’, (2) emerging and somewhat novel ideas about the tariff, (3) the depression and (4) post-depression recovery. Although most of the economists’ ideas were worked out in local debate, the paper notes the comments on Australia’s wage policies by J.M. Keynes and the role of W.B. Reddaway in his brief sojourn in Australia.

Suggested Citation

  • Keith Hancock, 2004. "Economists and Australian Wage policy Before World War II," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 7(4), pages 413-438, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ozl:journl:v:7:y:2004:i:4:p:413-438

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    More about this item


    History of Economic Thought since 1925; Wages; Compensation and labor costs: public policy (wage subsidies; minimum wage legislation); Economic history: labor and consumers; demography; education; income and wealth: Asia including Middle East;

    JEL classification:

    • B29 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Other
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
    • N35 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Asia including Middle East


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