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Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 9 No. 4 (Fall 1995)


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Retrospective: The Convergence Debate between David Hume and Josiah Tucker

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Elmslie, Bruce Truitt. 1995. "Retrospective: The Convergence Debate between David Hume and Josiah Tucker." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 9(4): 207-216.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.9.4.207


One of the most interesting debates in modern economics centers around the question of whether integrating economies necessarily converge in terms of per capita income and technology. This debate is often believed to have been started by Thorstein Veblen in 1915. However, this paper demonstrates that the genesis of the convergence question goes back to the Scottish Enlightenment and the publication of an essay by David Hume in 1742. The ensuing 'rich country-poor country' debate--between David Hume on the convergence side and Josiah Tucker on the nonconvergence side--represents one of the first major doctrinal debates in economics.

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Elmslie, Bruce Truitt (Whittemore School of Business & Econ, U NH)

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B31: History of Thought: Individuals


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