Joan Robinson and MIT

16 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2016

See all articles by Harvey Gram

Harvey Gram

City University of New York (CUNY)

G.C. Harcourt

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics

Date Written: September 25, 2016


Roger Backhouse begins his essay on “MIT and the Other Cambridge” (Backhouse, 2014; hereafter RB with page numbers only) citing Joan Robinson’s “challenge to what she chose to call the neoclassical theory of production” (RB, p. 252). His title referred, of course, to Robinson’s protagonists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; in particular, Paul Samuelson and Robert Solow. After developing his thesis that disequilibrium macroeconomics emerged as a by-product of the capital theory controversy, Backhouse concludes with the observation: “The controversy between the two Cambridges eventually came to be seen by MIT economists (and most of the economics profession) as a waste of time” (RB, p. 269).

Keywords: Joan Robinson, Paul Samuelson, Robert Solow, DOSSO, Conceptual Shortcomings

JEL Classification: B10, B31, B40

Suggested Citation

Gram, Harvey and Harcourt, G.C., Joan Robinson and MIT (September 25, 2016). UNSW Business School Research Paper No. 2016-11, Available at SSRN: or

Harvey Gram

City University of New York (CUNY) ( email )

695 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021
United States

G.C. Harcourt (Contact Author)

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics ( email )

High Street
Sydney, NSW 2052

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