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The Postwar West German Economic Transition: From Ordoliberalism to Keynesianism

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  • Johannes R. B. Rittershausen

Abstract

The Federal Republic of Germany has experienced a fundamental shift in economic philosophy from Ordoliberalism to Keynesianism. This paper elucidates the main tenets of both schools of thought and their eventual influences on economic policy from 1945 through the late 1960s. West Germany’s transition to Keynesianism follows a relatively cohesive narrative, as the complexities of event history resonate to similar effect in academic and political spheres. By the end of this investigation, intellectual quagmires surrounding economic successes of the postwar period appear as the logical consequences of an academic community that underestimates the importance of normative economic philosophy for policy implementation and society writ large. Reconnecting historical narrative with economic philosophy thus serves in a dual capacity, clarifying a particularly controversial period in economic historiography while also illuminating the underlying problems of our present circumstance.

Suggested Citation

  • Johannes R. B. Rittershausen, 2007. "The Postwar West German Economic Transition: From Ordoliberalism to Keynesianism," IWP Discussion Paper Series 01/2007, Institute for Economic Policy, Cologne, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:kln:iwpdip:dp01/07
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    File URL: http://www.iwp.uni-koeln.de/fileadmin/contents/dateiliste_iwp-website/publikationen/DP/DP_01_2007.pdf
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    Keywords

    Economic History; Ordoliberalism; Keynesianism; German Economic Reform;

    JEL classification:

    • B00 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - General - - - History of Economic Thought, Methodology, and Heterodox Approaches
    • B30 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - General
    • B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General

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