Richard Kahn (1905-1989)

A sparse writer, Richard F. Kahn reknown nonetheless rests on a fundamental idea he formulated at the age of 25 and published in 1931 – which was duly pinched by his master, John Maynard Keynes, and made the centerpiece of the latter’s General Theory (1936): the concept of the multiplier. Richard Kahn, nonetheless, bore his mentor no grudge and instead rose to be one of the leading figures of the Cambridge Keynesians. His colleague and close collaborator, Joan Robinson, was more willing than Keynes to credit him for his intellectual inspiration.

As one of the ‘fundamentalist’ Keynesians of the Cambridge school, Kahn was among the first to deplore the Synthesis between neo-classical and Keynesian economics that stretched away from the original message of the General Theory (1954, 1977, 1984). An able applied economist, Kahn also put his skills to work for the British Government and the United Nations.

Major works of Richard Kahn

– The Relation of Home Investment to Unemployment, 1931, EJ
– The Financing of Public Works: A note, 1932, EJ
– The Elasticity of Substitution and the Relative Share of a Factor, 1933, EJ
– Public Policy and Inflation, 1933, JASA
– Some Notes on Ideal Output, 1935, EJ
– The Problem of Duopoly, 1937, EJ
– Tariffs and Terms of Trade, 1947, RES
– Some Notes on Liquidity Preference, 1954, Manchester School
– The Place of Development, 1958, in Challenge of Development
– Exercises in the Analysis of Growth, 1959, Oxford EP
– Selected Essays on Employment and Growth, 1972
– Malinvaud on Keynes, 1977, Cambridge JE
-The Making of Keynes’s General Theory, 1984

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