Kahn, Richard F. (Richard Ferdinand), 1905-

Alternative names
Birth 1905-08-10
Death 1989-06-06

Biographical notes:

Epithet: Baron Kahn, economist

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000561.0x000274

Richard Ferdinand Kahn was born in Hampstead, London on 10 August 1905. His father, Augustus Kahn was a schoolmaster and an orthodox Jew, raised in England by his German parents. Augustus married Regina Schoyer, and Richard was one of several children.

Richard Kahn went to St Paul's School; he won a scholarship to King's College and was admitted in 1924. He read mathematics for part I of the tripos, then natural sciences for part II, eventually deciding to continue for a fourth year to study economics. His BA was awarded in 1927. Richard was supervised by Gerald Shove and John Maynard Keynes; he was encouraged by them and by Piero Sraffa to write a Fellowship dissertation, and in 1930 was elected a Fellow of King's College.

Richard Kahn was the Second Bursar of the College from 1935-46, then First Bursar from 1946-51 (following the death of Keynes). He was a Lecturer in Economics within the Faculty of Economics and Politics from 1933. He also held lecturing posts within the College from 1936, and was Director of Studies for economics students at King's from 1947. In 1951 he resigned from these posts to take up a Professorship of Economics, which he retained until 1972. During the second world war Kahn worked as a civil servant with Oliver Lyttelton in the Board of Trade, including a year in Cairo, and in the Ministry of Production and the Ministry of Supply, where he began work on buffer stocks.

Kahn worked closely with members of the Cambridge 'circus' of economists, and was involved in the genesis of Joan Robinson's work on imperfect competition and in John Maynard Keynes' 'General Theory'. Kahn himself published articles in economics journals, and co-authored 'The Free Trade Proposals', (1960) and 'The Problem of Rising Prices', (1961).

Kahn died in Cambridge on 6 June 1989.

Honours: CBE 1946, Fellow of British Academy 1960, created Baron Kahn of Hampstead 1965..

For biographical details of Richard Kahn readers are directed to the following works:

J. Eatwell, M. Milgate and P. Newman (eds.) 'New Palgrave: a dictionary of economics' (London: Macmillan, 1987) vol. 3, pp. 1-3;

G. C. Harcourt 'R. F. Kahn: a tribute', in 'Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review' No. 176, March 1991, pp. 15-30;

King's College, Cambridge 'Annual Report' 1990, pp. 28-39.

From the guide to the The Papers of Richard Ferdinand Kahn, 1890-1989, (King's College Archive Centre, Cambridge)


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