Robert Rowthorn

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Robert Rowthorn
Born (1939-08-20) 20 August 1939 (age 80)
NationalityUnited Kingdom
InstitutionUniversity of Cambridge
School or
Marxian economics
Alma materJesus College, Oxford
University of California, Berkeley
University of Oxford
InfluencesKarl Marx

Robert "Bob" Rowthorn (born 20 August 1939) is Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Cambridge and has been elected as a Life Fellow of King’s College.[1][2] He is also a senior research fellow of the Centre for Population Research at the Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford.


Rowthorn was born in 1939 in Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales. He attended Jesus College, Oxford reading mathematics. He took a post-graduate research fellowship at Berkeley again in mathematics. He returned to Oxford and switched to economics, taking a two-year B.Phil. He then got a job at Cambridge as an economist.[3]

He was an editor of the radical newspaper The Black Dwarf.[4]

He has authored many books and academic articles on economic growth, structural change and employment. His work has been influenced by Karl Marx and critics of capitalism. He has worked as a consultant to various UK government departments and private sector firms and organisations, and to international organisations such as the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Labour Organization.[5] Many of his publications have a Marxist slant.[6]

Rowthorn has been described by Susan Strange as being one of the few Marxists (another being Stephen Hymer) who is read in business schools.[7]

Among other things, he has identified the so-called paradox of costs, whereby higher real wages lead to higher profit margins.[8]

Selected works[edit]


  • Rowthorn, Bob (1980). Capitalism, conflict, and inflation: essays in political economy. London: Lawrence and Wishart. ISBN 9780853155393.
  • Rowthorne, Bob (Autumn 1981). Demand real wages and economic growth. London: Thames Polytechnic. ISBN 9780902169173. Thames Papers in Political Economy.
  • Rowthorn, Robert E.; Wells, J.R. (1987). De-industrialization and foreign trade. Cambridge Cambridgeshire New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521263603.
  • Rowthorn, Robert E.; Ramaswamy, Ramana (September 1997). "Deindustrialization – its causes and implications". IMF Working Paper. International Monetary Fund. WP/97/42. Pdf.

Book chapters[edit]

  • Rowthorn, Robert E. (1994), "What remains of Kaldor's Law?", in King, John E. (ed.), Economic growth in theory and practice: a Kaldorian perspective, Aldershot, England Brookfield, Vermont, USA: E. Elgar Pub, pp. 347–356, ISBN 9781852789558.
  • Rowthorn, Robert E. (1994), "A reply to Lord Kaldor's Comment", in King, John E. (ed.), Economic growth in theory and practice: a Kaldorian perspective, Aldershot, England Brookfield, Vermont, USA: E. Elgar Pub, pp. 363–367, ISBN 9781852789558.
  • Rowthorn, Robert E. (1994), "A note on Verdoorn's Law", in King, John E. (ed.), Economic growth in theory and practice: a Kaldorian perspective, Aldershot, England Brookfield, Vermont, USA: E. Elgar Pub, pp. 385–387, ISBN 9781852789558.
  • Rowthorn, Robert E. (2000), "Conflict, inflation and money", in Junankar, P. N. (ed.), The economics of unemployment, The International Library of Critical Writings in Economics, volume 122, Cheltenham, UK Northampton, Massachusetts, USA: Edward Elgar Pub, pp. 119–143, ISBN 9781858982366.

Journal articles[edit]

Kaldor, Nicholas (December 1975). "Economic growth and the Verdoorn Law - a comment on Mr Rowthorn's article". The Economic Journal. 85 (340): 891–896. doi:10.2307/2230633. JSTOR 2230633.[9]:357–362
Rowthorn, Robert E. (December 1975). "A reply to Lord Kaldor's comment". The Economic Journal. 85 (340): 897–901. doi:10.2307/2230634. JSTOR 2230634.[9]:363–367
In response to: letto-Gillies, Grazia (June 1990). "Was deindustrialization in the UK inevitable? Some comments on the Rowthorn-Wells analysis". International Review of Applied Economics. 4 (2): 209–223. doi:10.1080/758523675.
and: Auerbach, Paul (January 1989). "Review: Rowthorn, R.E. and Wells, J.R. 1987: De-industrialization and foreign trade". International Review of Applied Economics. 3 (1): 115–121. doi:10.1080/758532015.


  1. ^ Emeritus Faculty, University of Cambridge
  2. ^ Annual Report, King’s College, 2009
  3. ^ Interview of Robert Rowthorn by Alan Macfarlane, 13th June 2008
  4. ^ Dworkin (1997) p. 282
  5. ^ Bob Rowthorn bio from the Battle of Ideas website
  6. ^ Glyn (1980)
  7. ^ Strange (1997) p. 93
  8. ^ Rowthorn (1981)
  9. ^ a b c Reprinted in: King, John E. (1994). Economic growth in theory and practice: a Kaldorian perspective. Aldershot, England Brookfield, Vermont, USA: E. Elgar Pub. ISBN 9781852789558.


  • Dworkin, Dennis. Cultural Marxism in Postwar Britain: History, the New Left, and the Origins of Cultural Studies, Duke University Press Books, 1997, ISBN 978-0822319146
  • Glyn, Andrew. Review of Capitalism, Conflict and Inflation, Marxism Today, June 1980
  • Ietto-Gillies, Grazia. "Was Deindustrialization in the UK Inevitable? Some Comments on the Rowthorn-Wells Analysis", International Review of Applied Economics Vol. 4 (2). pp. 209–23. June 1990.
  • Mickiewicz, T; Zalewska, A. "De-industrialisation: Rowthorn and Wells' Model Revisited", Acta Oeconomica Vol. 56 (2). pp. 143–66. June 2006.
  • Strange, Susan. Casino Capitalism, Manchester University Press, 1997, ISBN 978-0719052354
  • Thirlwall, A. P. "Rowthorn's Interpretation of Verdoorn's Law", in Economic growth in theory and practice: A Kaldorian perspective. King, John E., ed., Elgar Reference Collection. International Library of Critical Writings in Economics. Aldershot, U.K.: Elgar; distributed in the U.S. by Ashgate, Brookfield, Vt. pp. 392–94. 1994. Previously Published 1980.