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American Institutionalism after 1945

A Research Annual

ISBN: 978-1-78441-858-8, eISBN: 978-1-78441-857-1

Publication date: 8 April 2015


This paper is an initial attempt to discuss the American institutionalist movement as it changed and developed after 1945. Institutionalism in the inter-war period was a relatively coherent movement held together by a set of general methodological, theoretical, and ideological commitments (Rutherford, 2011). Although institutionalism always had its critics, it came under increased attack in the 1940s, and faced challenges from Keynesian economics, a revived neoclassicism, econometrics, and from new methodological approaches derived from various versions of positivism. The institutionalist response to these criticisms, and particularly the criticism that institutionalism “lacked theory,” is to be found in a variety of attempts to redefine institutionalism in new theoretical or methodological terms. Perhaps the most important of these is to be found in Clarence Ayres’ The Theory of Economic Progress (1944), although there were many others. These developments were accompanied by a significant amount of debate, disagreement, and uncertainty over future directions. Some of this is reflected in the early history of The Association for Evolutionary Economics.



Rutherford, M. (2015), "American Institutionalism after 1945", A Research Annual (Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology, Vol. 33), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 95-123.



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