The Dog that Didn’t Bark: The Curious Case of Lloyd Mints, Milton Friedman and the Emergence of Monetarism

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Economics Working Paper 20101

Abstract: Evidence about Lloyd Mints’s role in the development of monetary economics at the University of Chicago has proven elusive, with the result that Mints has long been considered a peripheral figure at Chicago. We provide evidence showing that the standard assessment of Mints’s standing in Chicago monetary economics -- and in American monetary economics more broadly -- is deficient. In light of ( i ) the originality and the breadth of his monetary contributions, (ii) the cross-fertilization of his thinking with that of Milton Friedman, and (iii) the way Mints’s original contributions helped shape part of Friedman’s framework and were pushed forward by Friedman, we argue that, far from being a peripheral figure in the development of Chicago monetary economics, Mints played a more substantial role than has been previously thought in the emerging Chicago monetary economics of the late-1940s and early-1950s.

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