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Free Content Retrospectives: The Phillips Curve: A Rushed Job?

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Half a century ago, Economica published what its webpage claims is “the most heavily cited macroeconomics title of the 20th century”—the paper by A. W. H. “Bill” Phillips (1958) that introduced the Phillips curve. Based on admittedly circumstantial evidence, I will argue that Bill Phillips was not satisfied with the paper and had not intended to publish it in 1958. I believe that Phillips was persuaded to allow his paper to be published in 1958 by James Meade. After a brief overview of Phillips? early life and career, I attempt to show why Phillips was probably unhappy with the paper that introduced the curve that came to be identified with his name and how, nevertheless, it came to be published.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2011

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  • The Journal of Economic Perspectives (JEP) attempts to fill a gap between the general interest press and most other academic economics journals. The journal aims to publish articles that will serve several goals: to synthesize and integrate lessons learned from active lines of economic research; to provide economic analysis of public policy issues; to encourage cross-fertilization of ideas among the fields of thinking; to offer readers an accessible source for state-of-the-art economic thinking; to suggest directions for future research; to provide insights and readings for classroom use; and to address issues relating to the economics profession.
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