The course will focus on the origin, rise, and decline of Keynesian economic policy between the interwar period and the 1970s. We will study the development of Keynesian thought in Cambridge during the 1930s and analyse how it spread from Britain to most of the Western countries. The critical discussion of concept like state intervention and Keynesian consensus will help us to assess the scope and the limits of Keynes’ revolution.

After a brief introduction to Economic History, the first part of the course will investigate the origin of Keynes’ economic thought, from the post-war crisis to the Great Depression and the General Theory. It will then follow Keynes’ legacy and focus on the works of Keynesian economists, such as Robinson, Kalecki, Samuelson, Solow. Finally, it will address the problem of the rise of neoliberalism, the demise of Keynesian thought, and the return to neoclassical economics.

The second part of the course will instead focus on the implementation of Keynesian economic policies and address a few specific case studies by relying on students’ presentations (supervised by the instructor). Topics include Keynesian economic thought on war financing, public debt, welfare state, taxation, inflation, inequality, based on precise historical (national) cases between the 1930s and the 1970s.

Attention: the seminar will take place in English (including readings, class discussion, and assignments). Take this an opportunity to engage with English literature and improve your language skills.

Semester: SuTerm 2021