Ralph George Hawtrey

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Ralph George Hawtrey
Residence Oxford, UK
Institutions Royal Institute for International Affairs
Alma mater University of Cambridge
Notable awards Guy Medal in Silver

Sir Ralph George Hawtrey (22 November 1879, Slough – 21 March 1975, London) was a British economist, and a close friend of John Maynard Keynes.

He studied at Eton, then Cambridge, where he graduated in 1901 with first-class mathematics honours.[1] He entered the Admiralty in 1903, then he was moved to the Treasury (1904), where he became director of financial enquiries in 1919. Until his retirement in 1945 he worked in the UK Treasury.[2] He taught at Harvard University as a visiting lecturer from 1928-1929 on a special leave from the UK Treasury. After his official retirement in 1945 he was elected Price Professor of International Economics in the Royal Institute for International Affairs a post which he held from 1947-1952.[3] He was a Cambridge Apostle.

He took a monetary approach towards the economic ups and downs of industry and commerce, advocating changes in the money supply through adjustment in the bank rate of interest, foreshadowing the later work of Keynes. In the 1920s, he advocated what was later called the Treasury View. He also advanced in 1931 the concept that became known as the multiplier, a coefficient showing the effect of a change in total national investment on the amount of total national income.

It was his view that the Great Depression was largely the result of a breakdown of the international gold standard. He had played a key role in the Genoa Conference of 1922, which attempted to devise arrangements for a stable return to the gold standard.

Hawtrey was knighted in 1956.

Main publications[edit]

  • Good and Bad Trade, 1913.
  • Currency and Credit, 1919.
  • Monetary Reconstruction, 1922.
  • "The Trade Cycle", 1926.
  • Trade and Credit, 1928.
  • "The monetary theory of the trade cycle", EJ, 1929.
  • Trade Depression and the Way Out, 1931
  • The Art of Central Banking, 1932.
  • The Gold Standard in Theory and Practice, 1933.
  • Capital and Employment, 1937.
  • A Century of the Bank Rate, 1938.
  • "The Trade Cycle and Capital Intensity", EJ, 1940.
  • Economic Destiny, 1944.
  • "Keynes and Supply Functions", 1956.
  • The Pound at Home and Abroad, 1961.


  1. ^ "Hawtrey, Ralph George (HWTY898RG)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  2. ^ Gaukroger, Alan. "The Director of Financial Enquiries A Study of the Treasury Career of R. G. Hawtrey, 1919-1939.". Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield. Retrieved 2008. 
  3. ^ Encyclopaedic Bibliography of the World Economists. Global Vision Pub House. pp. 322–324. 

Further reading[edit]

  • E.G. Davis (1981) - "R.G. Hawtrey" in D.P. O'Brien, J.R. Presley (eds.), Pioneers of Modern Economics in Britain

External links[edit]