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Emil Lederer’s Theory of Economic Fluctuations and the Role of Financial Institutions

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  • Angelos T. Vouldis
  • Panayotis G. Michaelides
  • John G. Milios

Abstract

Emil Lederer was characterized as the “leading academic socialist of Germany in the 1920’s” by Joseph Schumpeter and was a highly respected economist of his time. However, most aspects of his work remain totally unexplored. This paper focuses on Emil Lederer’s theory of economic fluctuations defending the thesis that certain aspects of Lederer’s conceptualization of economic fluctuations underwent considerable modifications when his 1925 article Konjunktur und Krisen is compared with his 1938 book Technical Progress and Unemployment , a shift unacknowledged so far in the literature. In his first attempt to tackle the issue, in Konjunktur und Krisen (1925), Lederer had constructed an explanation consistent with the so-called “disproportionality theory” introduced by Tugan-Baranowsky (codified as “early Lederer”). However, Lederer’s conception of the business cycle during the 1930s and especially in his major work Technical Progress and Unemployment underwent considerable modifications. Lederer’s (1938) analysis is, apparently, very ‘Schumpeterian’ (codified as “late Lederer”). In this version of his theory, the cycle is explained by supply-side factors, and more specifically by technical change. Additionally, Lederer’s view on the role of financial institutions (credit and banks) with regards to business cycles is analysed. Lederer avoided attributing a causative role to monetary factors. The interrelation between ‘real’ factors and financial institutions constitutes an essential element in his analysis of the business cycle.

Suggested Citation

  • Angelos T. Vouldis & Panayotis G. Michaelides & John G. Milios, 2012. "Emil Lederer’s Theory of Economic Fluctuations and the Role of Financial Institutions," Forum for Social Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(1), pages 30-45, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:fosoec:v:41:y:2012:i:1:p:30-45
    DOI: 10.1007/s12143-010-9086-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Allgoewer, Elisabeth, 2003. "Emil Lederer: Business Cycles, Crises, and Growth," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(3), pages 327-348, September.
    2. Panayotis Michaelides & John Milios & Angelos Vouldis & Spyros Lapatsioras, 2010. "Emil Lederer and Joseph Schumpeter on Economic Growth, Technology and Business Cycles," Forum for Social Economics, Springer;The Association for Social Economics, vol. 39(2), pages 171-189, July.
    3. Claude Diebolt, 2006. "Progrès technique et cycles économiques dans la pensée allemande de l’entre-deux-guerres : l’apport d’Emil Lederer," Working Papers 06-09, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC).
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B13 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Neoclassical through 1925 (Austrian, Marshallian, Walrasian, Wicksellian)
    • B15 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary

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