Implications for Policy

  • W. A. Eltis


It is always dangerous to jump too rapidly from theory to policy. In a memorable passage which many economists must have taken to heart in recent years, Keynes wrote in 1930, six years before the General Theory:

…it is characteristic of economics that valuable and interesting work may be performed and steady progress made for many years, and yet that the results will be almost useless for practical purposes until a certain degree of exactness and perfection has been reached. Half-baked theory is not of much value in practice, though it may be half-way towards final perfection.1


Technical Progress Indifference Curve Substitution Effect Investment Incentive Profit Taxation 
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  1. 1.
    See, for instance, Hicks, Capital and Growth, part ra; R. M. Solow, Growth Theory: An Exposition (Oxford U.P., 1970) chap. 5; E. Burmeister and A. R. Dobell, Mathematical Theories of Economic Growth (New York: Macmillan, 1970) chaps. 10-11; and the articles by Joan Robinson, J. E. Meade, D. G. Champernowne and J. Black in the ‘Symposium on Production Functions and Economic Growth’ published in the Review of Economic Studies, vol. xxix (June 1962).Google Scholar
  2. 1.
    See, for instance, Colin Clark, Population Growth and Land Use (Macmillan, 1967).Google Scholar
  3. 1.
    See N. Kaldor, An Expenditure Tax (Allen & Unwin, 1955), the chapter on Company Taxation’.Google Scholar
  4. 2.
    See, for instance, W. Beckerman, ‘The determinants of economic growth’, in P. D. Henderson (ed.), Economic Growth in Britain (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1966); N. Kaldor, ‘Conflicts in national economic objectives’, Economic Journal, vol. LXXXI (Mar 1971); and John Mills, Growth and Welfare: A New Policy for Britain (Martin Robertson, 1972).Google Scholar
  5. 1.
    See, for instance, Sir John Hicks, ‘Saving, investment and taxation: an international comparison’, Three Banks Review (June 1968).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© W. A. Eltis 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. A. Eltis
    • 1
  1. 1.Exeter CollegeOxfordUK

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