The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Shackle, George Lennox Sharman (1903–1992)

  • Peter Earl
Reference work entry


Shackle was born in Cambridge. Financial circumstances compelled him to take an external degree while working first as a bank clerk and then as a schoolmaster; it was only in 1935 that he was able to study under Hayek at the London School of Economics. This was an exciting time to be starting out and later, in one of his bestloved books, The Years of High Theory (1967), Shackle was to look back at the problem-solving activities responsible for the interwar theoretical breakthroughs. Within 2 years, and very much influenced by the latest work of Myrdal and Keynes, he completed his first doctorate (published as Shackle 1938). By 1940 he was employed in wartime official service, having completed a second thesis that drew on material from his work as assistant to E.H. Phelps Brown at Oxford. Despite the demands of official work, he produced a series of articles on uncertain, crucial choices, whose outcomes may define, for good or bad, the chooser’s future possibilities (see especially Shackle 1942, 1943). These were reworked into his (1949) book and he rose rapidly, after returning to academia as Reader in Economics at Leeds University in 1950, to become Brunner Professor of Economic Science in the University of Liverpool in 1951. His retirement from Liverpool in 1969 saw no easing in his industry or in his desire to see economists deal with knowledge problems as analytical rudiments rather than refinements (see Shackle 1972).


Kaleidics Possibility Post Keynesian economics Probability Rational expectations Shackle G. L. S 

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  1. Ford, J.L. 1983. Choice, expectation and uncertainty. Oxford: Martin Robertson.Google Scholar
  2. Ford, J.L. 1994. G.L.S. Shackle: The dissenting economist’s economist. Aldershot: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Earl
    • 1
  1. 1.