Editor’s Introduction

  • Lionel Robbins


Lionel Robbins (1898–1984) was the foremost British economist of his generation. He was appointed Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics in 1929, when he was thirty years of age; from then until his retirement from his Chair in 1961 he dominated the Economics Department at LSE and built it up to its pre-eminent position in British economics. Robbins was not only an academic economist. He was important and influential in the shaping of economic policy in Britain and the international economy in and after the Second World War, in the expansion of British higher education, and in the administration of the arts in Britain. He was created one of the first four life peers in 1959. In the last two decades of his life Lord Robbins was most widely known as the author of the Report of the Committee on Higher Education published in 1963, but this was only the most conspicuous of his several major contributions to British public life. Nonetheless, as James Meade has emphasized, ‘the richness of his other lives and of his personality must not be allowed to overshadow the fact that he was by profession an economist and an economist of the first rank’ .1


Political Economy Monetary Policy Economic Journal London School Labour Government 
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  1. 1.
    Dalton, ‘Statement by Head of Department’ (2 November 1926) Robbins Personal File A, London School of Economics; Ben Pimlott (ed.), The Political Diary of Hugh Dalton 1918–40, 1945–60 (1986), p. 53Google Scholar
  2. Robbins, Autobiography of an Economist (1971), pp. 121–2Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    Keynes to MacDonald (10 July 1930), quoted in Susan Howson and Donald Winch, The Economic Advisory Council 1930–1939 (Cambridge, 1977), p. 47.Google Scholar
  4. 1.
    Susan Howson and Donald Moggridge (eds), The Wartime Diaries of Lionel Robbins and James Meade 1943–45 (London: Macmillan, 1990).Google Scholar
  5. 1.
    Milton Friedman, ‘Robbins Memorial Lecture: Exchange rates in a fiat money world’, in Randall Hinshaw (ed.), The Unstable Dollar: Domestic and International Issues (1988).Google Scholar
  6. 2.
    Allan H. Metzler, ‘Introduction’, Journal of Political Economy 76 (July/August 1968), p. 661.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lionel Robbins

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