Economic theory in an imperfect world: Frank Hahn, general equilibrium and Keynesian economics

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Frank Hahn was both a Keynesian economist, active in policy debates, and an economic theorist. Placing his work in the context of attempts to make theoretical sense of Keynesian economics, this paper explores the way Hahn used abstract general equilibrium theory to draw conclusions relevant to policy in an ‘imperfect’ world that does not conform to the assumptions made in the theory. Hahn’s rigorous approach to theorizing as the route to understanding is assessed in relation to the different approaches of Robert Lucas, Milton Friedman, Paul Samuelson and Axel Leijonhufvud.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1091-1107
Number of pages17
JournalOxford Economic Papers
Issue number4
Early online date3 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2020


  • Hahn, economic theory, Keynesian economics, general equilibrium, macroeconomics

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