364. G. Haberler to Harrod , 20 August 1934 [a]

[Circular letter; answered by 365 ]

The League of Nations, Geneva #

20 August 1934

Dear Mr. Harrod,

As you may perhaps know, an investigation has been initiated by the Economic Intelligence Service of the League of Nations, through the generosity of the Rockefeller Foundation and with the consent of the Assembly and Council of the League, into the Causes of the Recurrence of Periods of Economic Depression. [1]

As a first step in this enquiry, I have prepared a memorandum attempting a Systematic Analysis of the Theories of the Business Cycle. [2]

I am having a copy of this memorandum sent, under separate cover, to you and to a number of other distinguished economists. [3] It would be of great assistance to me, and further this important enquiry, if you would be so good as to look through it and to send me any comments and criticism which it may suggest to you.

I may add that this memorandum should be considered as tentative; and I shall attempt later, in the light of comments received, to work it out in greater detail and, in particular, with the help of statistical and other factual analyses, to make a contribution to the solution of the controversial question raised. [4]

Yours sincerely

G Haberler

(Financial Section and Economic Intelligence Service)

R.F. Harrod, Esq., Christ Church, Oxford

  1. 1. In September 1930, the Assembly of the League of Nations resolved that "an attempt should be made to co-ordinate the analytical work then being done on the problem of the recurrence of periods of economic depression" (A. Loveday, "Preface" to G. Haberler, Prosperity and Depression, 1937, p. iii, and "The League of Nations and Business Cycle Research", The Review of Economic Statistics XVIII:4, November 1936, p. 157). The researches which ensued were supported by a Rockefeller Foundation grant for $125,000 (E. Craver, "Patronage and the Directions of Research in Economics: The Rockefeller Foundation in Europe, 1924-1938", Minerva 24, 1986, pp. 213-14).

    2. G. Haberler, Systematic Analysis of the Theories of the Business Cycle (1934).

    3. The memorandum was sent to the living authors quoted in it, and to others. A list of 67 addressees id filed among Haberler papers (GH Box 66); it includes Hawtrey, Hayek, Hicks, Kahn, Kaldor, and Robertson. Comments from these and other recipients are preserved in file 10B/12653/12653 of the League of Nations archives and in the Haberler Papers, Box 66. The document was also sent to Keynes, who refused to provide detailed comments upon it on the ground of a disagreement on the method and the scope of the inquiry (Keynes to E. Felkin, 30 August 1934, CcTLI, in JMK CO/3/33).

    4. Haberler later provided a Synthetic Exposition Relating to the Nature and Causes of Business Cycles. The whole study was eventually elaborated as Prosperity and Depression (1937).

    1. a. TLS with autograph addition, one page, in HP IV-395-422.

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