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Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 24 No. 4 (Fall 2010)


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Retrospectives: An Early Supply-Side-Demand-Side Controversy: Petty, Law, Cantillon

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Berdell, John. 2010. "Retrospectives: An Early Supply-Side-Demand-Side Controversy: Petty, Law, Cantillon." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 24(4): 207-17.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.24.4.207


Early modern Europe in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries witnessed an unprecedented increase in the rate of economic growth, and governments entertained a wide range of proposals aimed at developing and harnessing foreign trade and emerging financial markets. In his magisterial survey of foreign trade doctrine titled Studies in the Theory of International Trade (1936), Jacob Viner pointed out that enlightened authors of that time were often nonbullionist mercantilists: they favored export promotion and import reduction not on the grounds that it would lead to an accumulation of gold, but on the grounds that it would increase trade and employment. My focus here is on how some key economists of this time period—William Petty, John Law, and Richard Cantillon—adumbrated disputes between supply-side and demand-side macroeconomics that have continued to the present day.

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Berdell, John (DePaul U)

JEL Classifications

B11: History of Economic Thought: Preclassical (Ancient, Medieval, Mercantilist, Physiocratic)
B31: History of Economic Thought: Individuals


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