Economic Impossibilities for Our Grandchildren?

38 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2015 Last revised: 3 Aug 2022

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Date Written: December 2015


The paper looks at the development of the secular stagnation thesis, in the context of the economic history of the time. It explores some 19th century antecedents of the thesis, before turning to its interwar development. Not only Alvin Hansen, but Keynes and Hicks were involved in the conversations that led to Hansen's eventual statement of the thesis that we are familiar with. The argument made sense in the context of the interwar period, but more so in Britain than the US.

Suggested Citation

O'Rourke, Kevin, Economic Impossibilities for Our Grandchildren? (December 2015). NBER Working Paper No. w21807, Available at SSRN:

Kevin O'Rourke (Contact Author)

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

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