The Economic Section 1939-1961
A Study In Economic Advising
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First published in 1989, The Economic Section 1939-1961 is a rare study of economic policymaking as seen from the inside. The Economic Section, formed in 1939-1940, was the first group of professional economists to operate full-time at the centre of government in the United Kingdom and its views on many issues of economic policy were frequently decisive.
In this volume, two former members of the Section draw on their memories and on the public records to trace the history of the Section from the early days of the war to the end of the 1950s. Alec Cairncross and Nita Watts discuss the advice offered by the Section, the controversies that followed advisers, and how Ministers responded. They present a picture of the day-to-day working of the Section, but inevitably focus on the more dramatic episodes, when major issues of policy were in dispute or important new issues were posed. Separate chapters are devoted to the Section’s role in four main areas: fiscal, monetary, incomes and external economic policy.
In illuminating influence on policy exercised by officials and the place of expert advice in economic management, this work will appeal to a wide range of readers. It offers the student of economics or politics a picture of what, in practice, goes to the making of economic policy.
Table of Contents
List of tables Preface 1. Stirrings: the Economic Advisory Council 2. Beginnings: the Stamp Survey and the Central Economic Information Service 3. Emergence: the transition to the Economic Section 4. Perpetuation: wartime views on economic advising 5. The Economic Section in wartime: a personal memoir 6. The Economic Section in wartime: post-war policy (1) internal 7. The Economic Section in wartime: post-war policy (2) external 8. The Economic Section under James Meade 9. The Economic Section under Robert Hall 10. Integration: the move to the Treasury 11. Surveys 12. Plans 13. Forecasting 14. Demand management: monetary policy 15. Demand management: fiscal policy to 1951 16. Demand management: fiscal policy after 1951 17. External economic policy to 1951 18. External economic policy after 1951 19. Income policy 20. Conclusion: economic advising then and now Appendix Select bibliography Index
Alec Cairncross and Nita Watts