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A. J. BROWN, “PHILLIPS’S CURVE,” AND ECONOMIC NETWORKS IN THE 1950S

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 April 2018

Kenneth Button
Affiliation:
George Mason University.

Abstract

This paper examines the role of the English economist Arthur (A. J.) Brown in the 1950s debate surrounding the wage-rate change/unemployment relationship. While the publication of William (Bill) Phillips’s 1958 paper and the subsequent moniker of the “Phillips Curve” attracted a wealth of attention, Brown’s book on the subject, The Great Inflation, and his later work on inflation have received much less. Here, the focus is on redressing this situation somewhat by looking at Brown’s work to see how much it predates Phillips’s paper, and what differences there are to it. We also consider this within the changing institutional structure of English economic networks in the 1950s that led to a relatively rapid acceptance of Phillips’s analysis and, in many cases, to a strong, ordinal interpretation of the Phillips Curve that overshadowed Brown’s work.

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Copyright © The History of Economics Society 2018 

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