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The Value of Applied Economics

the Life and Work of Arthur (A.J.) Brown Kenneth Button, University Professor, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University, US
This biography of the applied English economist Arthur (A.J.) Brown, an English economist from the late 1930s to the 1980s, sets his work in the context of the Great Depression, the emergence of Oxford University as a centre of applied economic research, the contraction of British colonialism in Africa, the enlarging of the UK university system, the post –war arms race, the UK joining the Common Market, and significant changes in the industrial structure of Britain.
Extent: c 256 pp
Hardback Price: $125.00 Web: $112.50
Publication Date: December 2017
ISBN: 978 1 78643 365 7
Availability: Not yet published (pre-order)
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Economic History
  • History of Economic Thought
  • Methodology of Economics
This biography of the English applied economist, Arthur (A.J.) Brown, sets his work from the 1930s to the 1980s in the context of the Great Depression, the emergence of Oxford University as a centre of applied economic research, the contraction of British colonialism in Africa, the enlarging of the UK university system, the post-war arms race, the UK joining the Common Market, and significant changes in the industrial structure of Britain.

Brown’s approach epitomized the role the applied economist. His career included pioneering analysis in Keynesian economics, serving on official bodies concerned with decolonisation, and membership in the UN’s group to examine the economic implications of disarmament, the UK’s Hunt Committee, and the EEC’s MacDougall Commission. He was also heavily involved in building the Economics Department at Leeds University and serving on the University Grants Committee. Through Brown’s experiences, we are granted a unique perspective on applied economics research at Oxford University in 1930s as well as reviews of early debates over the Phillips Curve, the role of economics in British decolonisation policy, and the importance of UK regional policy in the 1970s.

Arthur Brown’s appreciation of both the technical side of economics and the need for practical, real-world advice for decision-makers makes this a important resource for academics interested in the history of economic ideas, inflation, liquidity preference, Keynesian economics, regional policy, decolonisation, and university finances, as well as economists working in government and industry.
‘Arthur Brown was one of the finest applied economists of his generation. I benefitted from his wisdom both as a student and a colleague. His favourite aphorism that “the economy is made for man, not man for the economy” was his guiding principle. Ken Button has done a splendid job in highlighting the importance of applied economic research through the life and work of one of its foremost practitioners.’
– Tony Thirlwall, University of Kent, UK