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Frank Hahn

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Title: Frank Hahn  
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Subject: General equilibrium theory, Panicos O. Demetriades, Robert W. Clower, Hahn's problem, Distribution (economics)
Collection: 1925 Births, 2013 Deaths, Academics of the London School of Economics, Academics of the University of Birmingham, Alumni of the London School of Economics, British Economists, Fellows of Churchill College, Cambridge, Fellows of the British Academy, Fellows of the Econometric Society, General Equilibrium Theorists, Mathematical Economists, Members of the United States National Academy of Sciences, Monetary Economists, People Educated at Bournemouth School, Royal Air Force Personnel of World War II
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Frank Hahn

Frank Hahn
Born (1925-04-26)26 April 1925
Berlin, Germany
Died 29 January 2013(2013-01-29) (aged 87)
Cambridge, England
Nationality United Kingdom
Institution University of Birmingham, Cambridge University, London School of Economics
Field Economics
Alma mater London School of Economics
Contributions General equilibrium theory, monetarism, monetary theory, Keynesian economics, "Hahn's problem"
Information at IDEAS/RePEc

Frank Horace Hahn FBA (26 April 1925 – 29 January 2013) was a British economist whose work focused on general equilibrium theory, monetary theory, Keynesian economics and monetarism.[1][2] A famous problem of economic theory, the conditions under which money (which is intrinsically worthless) can have a positive value in a general equilibrium, is called "Hahn's problem" after him.


  • Biography 1
    • Early life and education 1.1
    • Academia 1.2
    • Famous letter 1.3
    • Influence and leanings 1.4
  • Death 2
  • Major works 3
  • References 4


Early life and education

Frank Hahn was born on 26 April 1925 in Berlin to Czech parents. His father was a chemist by profession and a writer. The family moved to Prague in 1931 and left for England in 1938. He and his brother were educated at Bournemouth School from when he was 13, a school for which he retained an abiding enthusiasm. He became a navigator in the RAF in the Second World War, then resumed his interrupted higher education, not reading Mathematics at Balliol College, Oxford, but instead reading Economics at the London School of Economics. He married Dorothy Salter, also an economist, in 1946, and obtained a lectureship at Birmingham in 1948.[3]

Frank Hahn took his doctoral degree in 1951 at the London School of Economics (University of London) for the thesis The share of wages: an enquiry into the theory of distribution, where he was supervised initially by Nicholas Kaldor and later by Lionel Robbins.[4] As a student, he had been part of the Hayek-Robbins seminar at the London School of Economics, and he once said his wife had been an original member of the Mont Pelerin Society [F. A. Hayek acknowledged the help of "Miss Dorothy Salter (now Mrs. F. H. Hahn)" in his Introduction to J. S. Mill's Letters].


Having begun his teaching career at the University of Birmingham in 1948, he was subsequently elected Reader in Mathematical Economics there before he joined Cambridge University in 1960 as a Fellow of Churchill College and University Lecturer in economics.[5]

In 1967, Hahn moved to the London School of Economics where he received his first professorship. He returned to Cambridge as Professor of Economics five years later; his inaugural lecture "On the notion of equilibrium in economics" was delivered on 28 February 1973. He remained Professor of Economics at Cambridge until his retirement in 1992, though he made near-annual visits to the USA, especially as Visiting Professor at Harvard University, the MIT, and the University of California, Berkeley, as well as to Stanford's Institute of Mathematical Studies in the Social Sciences.[5] From 1990 to 1996, Hahn directed the PhD program of the Economics Department at the University of Siena and eventually became Emeritus Professor at Cambridge.[4]

Famous letter

He gained widespread recognition and attention in 1981 as the co-instigator of a letter to The Times signed by 364 of Britain's best-known economists, questioning Margaret Thatcher's economic policy, with a warning that it would only result in deepening the prevailing depression.

Influence and leanings

Frank Hahn, by his own admission, was influenced in economics by John Hicks, W. M. Gorman, Takashi Negishi and Kenneth Arrow among others. He in turn influenced a large number of colleagues and students.[3]


He died in Cambridge on 29 January 2013, following a short illness.[2] He is survived by his wife.

Major works

  • "The Share of Wages in the Trade Cycle", Economic Journal, vol 60 (1950).
  • "The Share of Wages in National Income", Oxford Economic Papers vol. 3 No. 2 (1951).
  • "The Rate of Interest in General Equilibrium Analysis", Economic Journal (1955).
  • "Gross Substitutes and the Dynamic Stability of General Equilibrium", Econometrica vol 26 (1958) pp. 169–70.
  • "The Patinkin Controversy", Review of Economic Studies vol. 19 (1960).
  • "The Stability of Growth Equilibrium", Quarterly Journal of Economics vol. 74, pp. 206–26 (1960).
  • "Money, Dynamic Stability and Growth", Metroeconomica vol. 13 No. 11 (August 1961).
  • "A Stable Adjustment Process for a Competitive Economy", Review of Economic Studies vol 39 pp.62–5 (1962).
  • "A Theorem on Non-Tatonnement Stability" with T.Negishi, Econometrica vol. 30 No. 3 (1962).
  • "On the Stability of a Pure Exchange Equilibrium", International Economic Review, vol. 3 (May 1962), 206–13.
  • "The Stability of the Cournot Oligopoly Solution", Review of Economic Studies vol. 29 pp. 329–33 (1962).
  • "On the Disequilibrium Behavior of a Multi-Sectoral Growth Model", Economic Journal (1963)
  • "The Theory of Economic Growth: A survey", with R.C.O.Matthews (1964), Economic Journal vol 74 pp. 779–902 (1964).
  • "On Some Problems of Proving the Existence of an Equilibrium in a Monetary Economy" in Theory of Interest Rates (1965), edited by Hahn and Brechling.
  • "Equilibrium Dynamics with Heterogeneous Capital Goods" Quarterly Journal of Economics vol. 80 (1966) pp. 633–46.
  • "On Warranted Growth Paths", Review of Economic Studies, vol. 35, pp. 175–84 (1968).
  • "On Money and Growth", Journal of Money, Credit and Banking vol. 1 No. 2 (1969).
  • "Some Adjustment Problems", Econometrica vol. 38 No. 1 (January 1970).
  • General Competitive Analysis (1971), with K.J. Arrow.
  • "Equilibrium with Transactions Costs", Econometrica vol. 39 No. 3 (1971).
  • "The Winter of Our Discontent", Economica (1973).
  • "On Some Equilibrium Growth Paths" in Models of Economic Growth (1973), edited by Mirrlees and Stern.
  • "On Transactions Costs, Inessential Sequence Economics and Money", Review of Economic Studies vol. 40 No. 4 (October 1973).
  • On the Notion of Equilibrium in Economics (1974).
  • "Revival of Political Economy: The wrong issues and the wrong arguments", Economic Record vol. 51 pp. 360–4 (1975).
  • "Keynesian Economics and General Equilibrium Theory: Reflections on some current debates" in Microeconomic Foundations of Macroeconomics (1977), edited by Harcourt.
  • "Monetarism and Economic Theory", Economica Vol. 47 #185 (1980).
  • "General Equilibrium Theory" in Crisis in Economic Theory (1981) edited by Bell and Kristol.
  • Money and Inflation (1982).
  • "Reflections on the Invisible Hand", Lloyd's Bank Review, April 1982.
  • "The Neo-Ricardians", Cambridge Journal of Economics (1982).
  • "Stability" in Handbook of Mathematical Econonomics (1982), edited by Arrow and Intriligator.
  • Equilibrium and Macroeconomics (1984).
  • Money, Growth and Stability (1985).
  • "Liquidity" in Handbook of Monetary Economics (1988), edited by Friedman and Hahn.
  • Critical Essay on Modern Macroeconomic Theory (1995) with R. M. Solow.
  • "A Remark on Incomplete Market Equilibrium" in Markets, Information and Uncertainty (1999), edited by Chichilnisky.
  • "Notes on Sequence Economies, Transaction Costs and Uncertainty", with K.J. Arrow Journal of Economic Theory vol. 86 No. 2 (1999).


  1. ^ , Volume 2, 1938, p. 548.Enciclopedia italiana di scienze, lettere ed arti
  2. ^ a b "Professor Frank Hahn: 1925 – 2013/".  
  3. ^ a b From a Draft dated 1988. A slightly revised version was published with the title "Autobiographical Notes with Reflections," in Eminent Economists: their Life Philosophies, edited by Michael Szenberg, Cambridge University Press, 1992.
  4. ^ a b Marcello Basili and Carlo Zappia (2005). "An interview with Frank Hahn on the occasion of his 80th birthday". Storia del pensiero economico 2 (2): 13–18.  
  5. ^ a b "Professor Frank Hahn MA, PhD, FBA".  
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