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Arnold Plant

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Arnold Plant
Born29 April 1898
Hoxton, London, England
Died19 April 1978(1978-04-19) (aged 79)
Edith Render
(m. 1925)
Children2 sons
Academic career
InstitutionsLondon School of Economics
Other notable studentsRonald Coase
InfluencesDavid Hume[1]
Edwin Cannan[1]
F. A. Hayek[2]

Sir Arnold Plant (29 April 1898 – 19 April 1978) was a British economist.[3][4][5]


Plant was born in Hoxton, London, the son of a municipal librarian, William Charles Plant, and Thomasine Emily Plant.[6][1] After attending Strand School, he worked for a mechanical engineering organisation. At the advice of William Piercy, he set out to learn about management. In 1916 he attempted to enlist for military service, but his bad eyesight meant that he was initially unsuccessful. However, with the increasing demand for military manpower, the regulations were relaxed and he was able to enlist as a Private in the 4th Battalion of the Royal West Kent regiment in 1918. He was demobilised in January 1919 and worked as General Manager of the Steam Fittings Company from January 1919 to July 1920.[7] He obtained a BCom degree (1922) and a BSc degree in Economics (1923; specialising in modern economic history) from the London School of Economics.[1]

He worked as a professor at the University of Cape Town (1923–1930) and at the London School of Economics (1930–1965).[3]

Plant's 1934 paper on patents, "The Economic Theory Concerning Patents for Inventions",[8] is considered a classic.[9]

In 1947, he was knighted.[3][10] He died in 1978. His widow, Edith, Lady Plant, died a decade later.[11]

Published work (selection)[edit]

  • Plant, Arnold (February 1932). "Trends in Business Administration". Economica (35): 45–62. doi:10.2307/2548975. JSTOR 2548975.
  • Plant, Arnold (February 1934). "The Economic Theory Concerning Patents for Inventions". Economica. New Series. 1 (1): 30–51. doi:10.2307/2548573. JSTOR 2548573.
  • Plant, Arnold (May 1934). "The Economic Aspects of Copyright in Books". Economica. New Series. 1 (2): 167–195. doi:10.2307/2548748. JSTOR 2548748.
  • Plant, Arnold (May 1939). "An African Survey". Economica. New Series. 6 (22): 205–212. doi:10.2307/2548933. JSTOR 2548933.


  1. ^ a b c d Coase, Ronald (1995). "Arnold Plant". Essays on Economics and Economists. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 176–184. ISBN 0-226-11102-4 – via Internet Archive.
  2. ^ Plant, Arnold (January–February 1970). "A Tribute to Hayek - The Rational Persuader". Economic Age. 2 (2): 4–8.
  3. ^ a b c Yame, B. S. (1980). "Professor Sir Arnold Plant, 1898–1978". Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series A (General). 143 (1): 92.
  4. ^ "Obituary: Sir Arnold Plant – Services in the field of economics". The Times. 21 April 1978. p. 20.
  5. ^ Cord, Robert A. (2019). "Arnold Plant (1898-1978)". In Cord, Robert A. (ed.). The Palgrave Companion to LSE Economics. London: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 329–346. doi:10.1057/978-1-137-58274-4. ISBN 978-1-137-58273-7.
  6. ^ 1911 England Census
  7. ^ https://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/textonly/_NEW2018/ABOUT/HISTORY/papers/arnold-plant.pdf. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Arnold Plant, "The Economic Theory Concerning Patents for Inventions", Economica: New Series, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Feb., 1934), pp. 30-51; reprinted in Arnold Plant, Selected Economic Essays and Addresses 35 (1974).
  9. ^ Blaug, Mark, ed. (1986). "PLANT, Arnold". Who's Who in Economics: A Biographical Dictionary of Major Economists 1700-1986 (2nd ed.). Wheatsheaf Books Limited. p. 687. ISBN 978-0-7450-0230-9 – via Internet Archive.
  10. ^ Kitch, Edmund W. (October 1977). "The Nature and Function of the Patent System". Journal of Law and Economics. 20 (2): 265–290. doi:10.1086/466903. S2CID 52235846.
  11. ^ "Deaths: Lady Plant". The Times. 8 June 1988. p. 2.

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