Roy F. Harrod

Roy F. Harrod

Born: 1900. Died: 1978.


Roy Harrod taught economics, and produced his original contributions to the subject, at Oxford between 1924 and his retirement in 1967. Elected to a Lectureship at Christ Church Oxford in 1922, he then spent a few months at Cambridge with John Maynard Keynes, with whom he remained in close touch for the rest of Keynes' life, and whose official biography he published in 1951.

With John Hicks and James Meade he was among the Oxford economists included in Keynes' circle of correspondents. A founder of the Oxford Economics Research Group along with Hubert Henderson and others, his unique contribution in urging a 'dynamic' rather than 'static' approach to economic issues was an Oxford contribution, accepted only later among the Cambridge economists.

A delay of two years, (1928 to 1930) in the publication by Keynes, then editor of the Economic Journal of Harrod's original 'marginal revenue curve' denied the Oxford economist the primacy in this field. This sad turn of circumstance was to repeat itself several times in Harrod's career. Another independent discovery by Harrod (1931), effectively the long-run envelope of short-run average cost curves, also went unrecognized - the credit being awarded to Jacob Viner. In that same article, he laid out the analytical foundations for the theory of imperfect competition - but Joan Robinson took the prize. The laurels for his remarkable multiplier-accelerator model, developed in his Trade Cycle (1936), were given to the mathematically-expressed versions by Paul Samuelson and John Hicks. The equations of the IS-LM model were written down by Harrod (1937), but the (later) drawing of the diagram by Hicks robbed him of his claims to precedence. His 1939 paper on entrepreneurial behavior - one of the first statements of the idea that there are natural selection or 'evolutionary' mechanisms towards profit-maximizing behavior - was largely ignored and left for Alchian (1950) to propose.

Finally, another discovery gave him some name recognition: Roy Harrod's (1939) 'Essay in Dynamic Theory'. The idea, which marked the beginning of the modern theory of growth, had been followed up by Evsey Domar, but at least he got his name on the model this time: the Harrod-Domar Model. In his 1948 book, Towards a Dynamic Economics, as well as in a series of essays (1960, 1963, 1975) he developed this further, highlighting the instability problem of this model and launching the entire post-war research program on economic growth - and, indeed, reviving business cycle theory as well.

His contributions to international trade (1933, 1958) and imperfect competition (1933, 1934, 1952) have also been given latter-day recognition. His less rigorous pieces on economic policy (1963, 1965, 1968, 1969) were also remarkable. He was appointed a Reader in Economics at Nuffield College, Oxford in 1952, and is remembered in a Fellowship in Applied Economics at that College.

Outside economic theory Harrod's claim to prominence was his work on inductive logic (1956), his role on the Statistical Staff and as personal adviser to Winston Churchill during WW II, and his unofficial advice to Harold MacMillan as Prime Minister. He also devoted great energy to the life of his Oxford college.

Major Books of Roy F. Harrod

- A Page of British Folly, 1946
- And So It Goes On, 1951
- Are These Hardships Necessary?, 1947
- Britain's Future Population, 1943
- The British Economy, 1963
- Currency and Central Banking, 1933, in G. D. H. Cole, What Everybody Wants to Know about Money
- The Dollar, 1953
- Dollar-Sterling Collaboration, 1968
- Economic Dynamics, 1975
- Economic Essays, 1952
- Economics, 1900-1950, 1956, in A. Pryce-Jones, The New Outline of Modern Knowledge
- Growth Policy for Europe, 1963
- Foundations of Inductive Logic, 1956
- Increasing Returns, 1967, in Kuenne, editor, Monopolistic Competition Theory
- International Economics, 1933
- The Life of John Maynard Keynes, 1951
- Money, 1969
- Optimum Investment for Growth, 1966, in Problems of Economic Dynamics and Planning
- Plan to Increase International Monetary Liquidity, 1964
- Policy Against Inflation, 1958
- The Pound Sterling, 1952
- The Pound Sterling, 1951-58, 1958
- The Prof: A Personal Memoir of Lord Cherwell, 1959
- Reforming the World's Money, 1965
- Retrospect on Keynes, 1963, in Lekachman, editor, Keynes's General Theory
- Review of Théorie du Protectionnisme et de l'Échange Internationale, by M. Manoilesco, 1930
- Topical Comment: Essays in Dynamical Economics Applied, 1961
- Towards a Dynamic Economics: Some Recent Developments of Economic Theory and Their Application to Policy, 1948
- Towards a New Economic Policy, 1967
- The Trade Cycle: An Essay, 1936
- What is a Model?, 1968, in Wolfe, editor, Value, Capital and Growth

Major Articles of Roy F. Harrod

- 1926, Review of Mathematical Investigations in the Theory of Value and Prices, by Irving Fisher, J of Royal Institute of International Affairs
- 1927, Mr. Robertson's Views on Banking Policy, Economica
- 1930, Notes on Supply, EJ
- 1930, Progressive Taxation and Equal Sacrifice, EJ
- 1931, The Law of Decreasing Costs, EJ
- 1933, A Further Note on Decreasing Costs, EJ
- 1934, Doctrines of Imperfect Competition, QJE
- 1934, The Equilibrium of Duopoly, EJ
- 1934, The Expansion of Credit in an Advancing Economy, Economica
- 1934, Professor Pigou's Theory of Unemployment, EJ
- 1935, Review of The Exchange Equalisation Account by N.F. Hall, IA
- 1936, Another Fundamental Objection to Laissez-Faire, EJ
- 1936, Imperfect Competition and the Trade Cycle, REStat
- 1936, Utilitarianism Revised, Mind
- 1937, Mr. Keynes and Traditional Theory, Econometrica
- 1938, The Future of Gold, The Banker
- 1938, Population and the Future, PQ
- 1938, Scope and Method of Economics, EJ
- 1939, An Essay in Dynamic Theory, EJ
- 1939, The Conscription of Wealth, PQ
- 1939, Modern Population Trends, Manchester School
- 1939, Population Trends and Problems, Lloyds BR
- 1939, Price and Cost in Entrepreneurs' Policy, OEP
- 1939, Review of Value and Capital by John Hicks, EJ
- 1940, Peace Aims and Economics, Manchester School
- 1942, Memory, Mind
- 1943, Full Employment and Security of Livelihood, EJ
- 1946, Anglo-American Cooperation, The Banker
- 1946, Consequences of Nationalising the Bank of England, PQ
- 1946, John Maynard Keynes, REStat
- 1946, Kelly, Aquinas and Interest-Taking, EJ
- 1946, Professor Hayek on Individualism, EJ
- 1948, European Union, Lloyds BR
- 1949, Measures to Prevent a Slump, Foreign Affairs
- 1949, Wesley Mitchell in Oxford, EJ
- 1950, European Economic Co-Operation: A British viewpoint, Public Finance
- 1951, Notes on Trade Cycle Theory, EJ
- 1953, Imbalance of International Payments, IMF Staff Papers
- 1953, A Comment on Pilvin, QJE
- 1955, Convertibility Problems, Econ Internazionale
- 1955, Investment and Population, Revue Economique
- 1956, The British Boom, 1954-1955, EJ
- 1956, Walras: A Re-appraisal, EJ
- 1956, On Lord Keynes, Indian JE
- 1957, Professor Fellner on Growth and Unemployment, Kyklos
- 1958, The Role of Gold Today, SAJE
- 1958, Factor Price Relations Under Free Trade, EJ
- 1958, Questions for a Stabilization Policy for Primary Producing Countries, Kyklos
- 1959, Keynes, Keynesians, and Mr. Jacobsson: A Note, Kyklos
- 1959, Domar and Dynamic Economics, EJ
- 1960, Second Essay on Dynamic Theory, EJ
- 1961, Real Balances: A Further Comment, EJ
- 1961, A Plan for Increasing Liquidity: A critique, Economica
- 1961, The Neutrality of Improvements, EJ
- 1962, The Pound at Home and Abroad, Kyklos
- 1962, The British Balance of Payments, WWA
- 1962, Growth and Liquidity, Rivista d'Econ Politica
- 1962, Dynamic Theory and Planning, Kyklos
- 1963, Themes in Dynamic Theory, EJ
- 1964, Are Monetary and Fiscal Policies Enough?, EJ
- 1966, International Liquidity, Scottish JPE
- 1967, Methods of Securing Equilibrium, Kyklos
- 1967, Assessing the Trade Returns, EJ
- 1968, The Devaluation of Sterling, WWA
- 1974, Pure Theory of Growth Economics, ZfN

Quotes from Roy F. Harrod

- "The most basic law of economics, namely that one cannot get something for nothing." (from "Towards a Dynamic Economics: Some Recent Developments of Economic Theory and Their Application to Policy", 1948)


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