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The Keynesian Revolution: A Research School Analysis



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Cord, Robert Anthony 


Various explanations have been put forward as to why the "Keynesian. Revolution occurred. Some of these point to the temporal relevance of the General Theory while others highlight the importance of more anecdotal evidence, such as Keynes.s relations with the Cambridge "Circus.. However, no systematic effort has been made to bring together these and other factors under one recognised framework of analysis. This thesis attempts to fill this gap by making use of a well-established tradition of work within the history of science literature devoted to identifying the factors which help to explain why certain research schools are successful and why others fail. This body of work is based primarily on the ideas of Jack Morrell and Gerald Geison. More specifically, Morrell and Geison make use of a combination of 14 intellectual, technical, institutional, psychological and financial factors which, they argue, help determine the relative performance of research schools.

We apply the research school approach to the development very specifically of macroeconomics in the 1930s and 1940s. Our findings suggest that it does indeed provide a reasonably coherent explanation as to why the revolution in macroeconomics witnessed during this period was specifically labelled "Keynesian., this despite the fact that Keynes was far from being the only economist attempting to gain dominance for his ideas. Thus, as well as Keynes, we apply the same research school analysis to the cases of Hayek and Kalecki and use it to explain why they were overshadowed by Keynes. On a final note, although it is clear that Keynes independently possessed a number of the attributes necessary to establish a successful and sustainable research school, the thesis also identifies the theories and activities of Marshall as providing an important foundation from which Keynes was able to mount his own revolution.






Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge