Robbins, Lionel Robbins, Baron, 1898-1984

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Lionel Charles Robbins, Baron Robbins (1898 - 1984) was an economist whose legacy has been described as covering three main areas: 'the academic discipline of economics; UK domestic and international economic policy, especially in the Second World War; and the arts in Britain' (p1 of 'Lionel Robbins', Susan Howson, Cambridge University press, 2011).

Lionel Robbins was educated at Southall County School, University College London and the London School of Economics and Political Science. He served in the First World War in the Royal Field Artillery, initially in training in England then on active duty in France, until he was wounded and sent home in the spring of 1918. He initially studied arts at University College London before the First World War. After returning from the war he changed his course of study to economics, starting at LSE in 1920.

He worked as a lecturer at New College Oxford University (1924), as a lecturer at LSE (1925-1927), as a Fellow and lecturer, again at New College (1927-1929) and then returning to be Professor of Economics at LSE, 1929 - 1961, where he continued to work part-time until 1981-1982. During his time at LSE he sat on the Court of Governors (1968 - 1974) and headed up the LSE Library Appeal in the early 1970s.

His most highly regarded book on economics is 'An Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science' (1932).

During the Second World War Lionel Robbins worked for the Economic Section of the War Cabinet and was Chair of the section from 1941 - 1945. As such he was heavily involved in the creation of the British total war economy. He was also very involved in the direction of post war international economics. He was part of the British delegation at Bretton Woods in 1944 and after the war was part of an Advisory Council for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), 1948 - 1949.

He was President of the Royal Economic Society from 1954 - 1955. He had a strong interest in the arts and held a number of positions: member of the Committee on the Export of Works of Art, 1950 - 1952; Trustee of the National Gallery, 1952 - 1974; Trustee at the Tate Gallery, 1953 - 1967; and a Director on the Board of the Royal Opera House, 1955 - 1981.

From 1961 - 1970 he was Chairman of the Financial Times. In 1960 he was invited to head up a Committee on Higher Education 'to review the pattern of full-time higher education in Great Britain and in the light of national needs and resources to advise Her Majesty's Government on what principles its long-term development should be based.' The report of the committee, which became known as the Robbins Report, advocated the benefits of higher education for all and the expansion of higher education to ensure everyone has access. This led to further involvement in higher education including a position as first Chancellor of Stirling University from 1968 - 1978.

Lionel Robbins died in 1984.

Publications: Liberty and equality (1977); Political economy past and present (1976); Against inflation (1979); Higher education revisited (1980); (ed) Studies in Economics and Commerce (London, 1933-1948); Aspects of post-war economy (Institute of economic Affairs, London, 1974); Autobiography of an economist (Macmillan, London, 1971); The balance of payments (Athlone Press, London, 1951); Bentham in the twentieth century (Athlone Press, London, 1965); Economic aspects of federation (Macmillan, London, 1941); The economic basis of class conflict (Macmillan, London, 1939); The economic causes of war (Jonathan Cape, London, 1939); Economic planning and international order (Macmillan, London, 1937); The economic problem in peace and war (Macmillan, London, 1947); The economist in the twentieth century (Macmillan, London, 1954); An essay on the nature and significance of economic science (Macmillan, London, 1932); The evolution of modern economic theory (Macmillan, London, 1970); The Great Depression (Macmillan, London, 1934); The international monetary problem (Oxford University Press, London, 1973); Money, trade and international relations (Macmillan, London, 1971); Politics and economics (Macmillan, London, 1963); Robert Torrens and the evolution of classical economics (Macmillan, London, 1958); The theory of economic policy in English classical political economy (Macmillan, London, 1952); The university in the modern world, and other papers on education (Macmillan, London, 1966); Wages (Jarrolds, London, 1926).

From the guide to the ROBBINS, Lionel Charles, 1898-1984, Baron Robbins of Clare Market, Professor, economist, 1914 - 1987, (British Library of Political and Economic Science)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn ROBBINS LIONEL CHARLES 1898-1984 BARON ROBBINS PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS, 1980-1981 British Library of Political and Economic Science
referencedIn Divine, Thomas F. Papers, 1924-1978. Marquette University Raynor Memorial Library, John P. Raynor Library
creatorOf ROBBINS, Lionel Charles, 1898-1984, Baron Robbins of Clare Market, Professor, economist, 1914 - 1987 British Library of Political and Economic Science
referencedIn PLANT, Sir Arnold, 1898-1978, Knight, Professor, economist, 1918-1972 British Library of Political and Economic Science
referencedIn MEADE, James Edward, 1907-1995, economist, 1921-[1995] British Library of Political and Economic Science
Role Title Holding Repository
Place Name Admin Code Country
Educational sciences
Student unrest


Birth 1898-11-22

Death 1984-05-15





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