Hawtrey's Leap and Other Examples of Economists Suffering from Mathematical Confusion and Illiteracy When Reading the General Theory
20 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2018
Date Written: January 31, 2018
Mathematical innumeracy, ineptness, illiteracy, and confusion has been endemic in the economics profession since 1936 when the specific case of economists attempting to read Keynes’s General Theory is examined. Three economists will be studied–Gottfried Haberler, Ralph Hawtrey, and Joan Robinson.
The lack of a basic understanding of the mathematical model used to illustrate the theory and the difference between the use of the differential calculus as a model based on continuous functions and continuity, while the empirical application of the theory involves observations of discrete data, supports Samuelson’s construction of a bridge between continuous, mathematical models using the calculus and other mathematical techniques such as difference equations, that use empirical, discrete data, as illustrated by his correspondence principle in his 1941 dissertation.
Keywords: Hawtrey, Robinson, Haberler, mathematical ineptness, mathematical illiteracy, mathematical innumeracy, mathematical confusion
JEL Classification: B10, B12, B14, B16, B20, B22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation