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A History of Australasian Economic Thought


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Table of Contents


  1. Setting the Scene
  2. The Professionalization of Australasian Economics
  3. The Practical Utopia of Economics
  4. Ordeal by Fire: Australasian Economists and the Great Depression
  5. How Keynes came to Australasia
  6. War, Reconstruction and Economic Theory
  7. A Coming of Age for Australasian Economics
  8. The Flowering of Australasian Economics
  9. Hardly the Age of Aquarius
  10. The Age of Economic Reform
  11. Australasian Economics at Century's End

About the Author

Alex Millmow is Associate Professor in economics at the Federation Business School, Federation University, Australia. He is also the President of the History of Economic thought Society of Australia. Alex's research interests include the making of the Australian economics profession and the role of economic ideas in steering public policy.


"A new book from the president of the History of Economic Thought Society Australia gives a wonderful introduction to a unique body of economic thought developed "at the end of the world". [...] If this beautiful, elegiac book does not move you to be proud to be an Australian or New Zealand economist then I fear you may need a heart transplant. A delicious little morsel at just over 250 pages, Alex Millmow's A History of Australasian Economic Thought still manages to convey a distinct sense of what was a diverse but definably unique branch of economic thought in Australia and New Zealand."

Brendan Markey-Towler, Industry Research Fellow, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia, published in Economic Record

"Millmow's penchant to make the story more 'personal' really makes the book engaging and very hard to put down without reading it from cover-to-cover. He writes about the Australasian economists as people and concentrates less on economic doctrines (what many previous national histories of economic thought have done) and more about the way the Australasian economists interacted with one another and with leading economists elsewhere. This is a good way of handling the vast literary material which is wide ranging in both geographical and doctrinal scope. Indeed there is something quite modern in Millmow's chosen approach...This book will forever change the way we appreciate the history of Australasian economics not so much in an intellectual vacuum but in its connections to economic policy in the twentieth century. It will invite and inspire others to investigate in more detail many of the suggestive remarks in the broad vista that the author places before them."

Anthony M Endres, Professor of Economics, University of Auckland, New Zealand

"It is more than a survey of the writings of economists; it is really a history of the economies of the two countries, of economic policy issues, and related matters. This is of course essential background. [...] Extremely comprehensive."

Max Corden, Emeritus Professor of International Economics, Johns Hopkins University, USA and Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne, Australia.

"This is a very welcome and in some ways also a very ambitious book. The previous histories of economic thought in the Antipodes by Craufurd Goodwin (1966) and by Peter Groenewegen and Bruce McFarlane (1990) restricted their coverage to the western side of the Tasman Sea, but Alex Millmow has chosen also to include New Zealand; I estimate that somewhere between one-third and one-quarter of his book is devoted to Kiwi economics. [...] At every stage, a great deal of attention is paid both to institutional developments and to the role played by Australasian economists in the formation of economic and social policy. A very high level of scholarship is displayed throughout, with the ample footnotes and bibliographies that are provided at the end of each chapter accounting for almost 40 pages of text."

JE King, La Trobe University, Australia and Federation University Australia, Australia, published in The Economic and Labour Relations Review.

"[...] it will provide a useful guide for those wanting information about what was written, by whom, and in which year, between the 1920s and the turn of the century. [...] One of the difficulties of writing a book on the history of economic thought in two countries over nearly a century, with hundreds of writers and their many contributions, is finding a systematic and coherent method of organising the material. For the failure to devise a satisfactory framework could easily result in an amorphous mess. Millmow has avoided this danger for the most part by structuring the chapters of the book in chronological order and selecting work to be covered in each chapter according to pertinent themes. The book comprises 11 tightly and well-written chapters." Selwyn Cornish, The Australian National University, published in Agenda, 25 (1), 93-98.

"This survey of Australasian economic thought from the mid-1920s to the end of the twentieth century focuses on the interaction between economic events and economic thought, with particular attention to the extent this relationship could, and did, influence economic policy. Chapters 2 to 4, which cover the period between the First and Second World Wars, are the most valuable in the book [...]." J.W. Nevile, School of Economics, University of New South Wales, Australia, published on EH.Net.

Alex Millmow's stimulating new book celebrates that rewarding journey. I commend this inspiring story to anyone interested in the economic development of two of the best countries in the world to live in.

Singapore Review of Books September 2018

"[...] His history builds on earlier, more limited surveys, a large number of biographies, and a growing body of specialist studies. He has read the economists' publications closely and made good use of personal papers and archival holdings. After setting the scene, he follows the progress of the discipline and profession through a sequence of chronological chapters from the 1920s to the end of the century-though the first four decades receive closer attention. [...] He brings out particularly well the way that economists concentrated on the problems that arose from the changing fortunes of their two countries: trade, balance of payments, wages, and growth."

Stuart Macintyre, Emeritus Laureate Professor, University of Melbourne, Australia, published in Economic History Review, 71(4), p. 1444.

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