is Joan Robinson?
group was named after Joan Robinson as a way to honour this
brilliant Cambridge economist, who showed much interest in
monetary economics, but who also dealt with and theorized
about almost every other facet of economics.
born in 1903 and died in 1983.
her role in the development of economics, as well as the quality
and the quantity of her published work, Joan Robinson should
have been awarded the coveted Economics 'Nobel' award; but
she was both a woman and an heterodox economist -- a double
handicap to obtain such a recognition in the economics profession.
well-known among orthodox colleagues for her Economics of Imperfect
Competition (Macmillan, 1933), the concepts of which are still
taught to first-year students of economics. Her magnum opus,
which deals with the most important issues of economics, such as
the determinants of growth, technical progress, the choice of technique,
income distribution, is The Accumulation of Capital (Macmillan,
1956). It was shortened into a more friendly version in her Essays
in the Theory of Economic Growth (Macmillan, 1962). Robinson
is also known for having launched a large-scale attack against neoclassical
economics in an article devoted to the production function that
was published in 1953. This eventually gave rise in the 1960s and
the 1970s to the so-called Cambridge capital controversies. Thus
Joan Robinson is best recognized for her contributions to microeconomics,
growth and capital theory.
asked what Joan Robinson's most significant contribution had been,
Frank Hahn's response, who had been both a colleague and an adversary
at the University of Cambridge in England, was that her contribution
was in monetary economics. Hahn (in G. Feiwell, Joan Robinson
and Modern Economic Theory, Macmillan, 1989, p. 909) said that
"her work on interest rates and money was excellent -- outstanding
in many ways .... She wrote some splendid papers on the structure
of interest rates, on liquidity preference, on the connection between
monetary economics and the exchange rate, all these essays she collected
in The Rate of Interest and Other Essays (1952)".
We agree with
Hahn's assessment of Robinson's monetary economics. We would add
that The Accumulation of Capital contains seven admirable
chapters that deal with money, credit, finance, interest rates,
rentiers, and banks. In these chapters, Joan Robinson shows her
admirable understanding of the complexities of the financial world,
and her ability to propose an innovative and comprehensive view
of the links between the financial system and the macroeconomy.
Our opinion is that students will learn a great deal more about
money, credit and finance by reading these seven chapters than by
going through standard "principles" textbooks.
analysis of Joan Robinson's outstanding contribution to monetary
"Money and Finance in Joan Robinson's work", in George
R. Feiwel (ed.), The Economics of Imperfect Competition and Employment:
Joan Robinson and Beyond, Macmillan, 1989, pp. 613-630.
Rochon, Credit, Money and Production: An Alternative Post-Keynesian
Approach, Edward Elgar, 1999,