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American institutionalism and its British connections


  • Malcolm Rutherford


This paper examines the connections between American institutionalists and a number of 'non-Marshallian' British economists and social scientists, several of whom were associated with the Fabian Society or the London School of Economics or both. Specifically, the links between institutionalists such as Walton Hamilton and Wesley Mitchell and British social scientists such as John A. Hobson, Henry Clay, R.A. Tawney, William Beveridge and Graham Wallas. It is argued that these connections were related to common views on the importance of institutions, compatible methodological views, common interest in questions of social value, shared policy concerns (particularly unemployment and the coal industry), shared interests in the development of new institutions for education and research in economics and shared connections with the funding activities of the Rockefeller Foundation. These connections were much more extensive than has usually been realized. Some reasons for this British group not to form into a movement similar to American institutionalism are explored.

Suggested Citation

  • Malcolm Rutherford, 2007. "American institutionalism and its British connections," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(2), pages 291-323.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:eujhet:v:14:y:2007:i:2:p:291-323
    DOI: 10.1080/09672560701327984

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Veblen, Thorstein, 1904. "Theory of Business Enterprise," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number veblen1904.
    2. Hobson, John Atkinson, 1914. "Work and Wealth: A Human Evaluation," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number hobson1914.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bruce E. Kaufman, 2013. "Sidney and Beatrice Webb's Institutional Theory of Labor Markets and Wage Determination," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 765-791, July.
    2. Luca Fiorito & Cosma Orsi, 2012. "Anti-Semitism and Progressive Era Social Science. The case of John R. Commons," Department of Economics University of Siena 658, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    3. Ioannis A. Katselidis, 2014. "From Beveridge to "Flexicurity": Old and Recent Labour Policies," HISTORY OF ECONOMIC THOUGHT AND POLICY, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2014(1), pages 97-115.


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