Roy Harrod

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Roy Harrod
Railway Club at Oxford.jpg
The Railway Club. (Left to right) Back: Henry Yorke, Roy Harrod, Henry Weymouth, David Plunket Greene, Harry Stavordale, Brian Howard. Middle row: Michael Rosse, John Sutro, Hugh Lygon, Harold Acton, Bryan Guinness, Patrick Balfour, Mark Ogilvie-Grant, Johnny Drury-Lowe. Front: porters
Born(1900-02-13)13 February 1900
London, England
Died8 March 1978(1978-03-08) (aged 78)
Holt, Norfolk, England
Spouse Billa Harrod
Academic career
School or
Post-Keynesian economics
Alma mater New College, Oxford, King's College, Cambridge
Influences John Maynard Keynes, John A. Hobson
Contributions Harrod–Domar model

Sir Henry Roy Forbes Harrod (13 February 1900 – 8 March 1978) was an English economist. He is best known for writing The Life of John Maynard Keynes (1951) and for the development of the Harrod–Domar model, which he and Evsey Domar developed independently. He is also known for his International Economics, a former standard textbook, the first edition of which contained some observations and ruminations (wanting in subsequent editions) that would foreshadow theories developed independently by later scholars (such as the Balassa–Samuelson effect).



Harrod was born in London to businessman Henry Dawes Harrod and novelist Frances Forbes-Robertson. [1] [2] He attended St Paul's School and then Westminster School. Harrod attended New College in Oxford on a history scholarship. After a brief period in the Artillery, in 1918 he gained a first in literae humaniores in 1921, and a first in modern history the following year. Afterwards he spent some time in 1922 at King's College, Cambridge. It was there that he met and befriended Keynes. [3]

After moving back to Oxford, he became a Student (i.e., Fellow) and Tutor in economics at Christ Church. He held the fellowship in modern history and economics until 1967. He remained in contact with Keynes until Keynes's death in 1946, and was later his biographer (1951). Harrod was additionally a Fellow at Nuffield College 1938 to 1947 and from 1954 to 1958.

At Oxford Harrod was part of the Railway Club, which included: Henry Yorke, Roy Harrod, Henry Thynne, 6th Marquess of Bath, David Plunket Greene, Edward Henry Charles James Fox-Strangways, 7th Earl of Ilchester, Brian Howard, Michael Parsons, 6th Earl of Rosse, John Sutro, Hugh Lygon, Harold Acton, Bryan Guinness, 2nd Baron Moyne, Patrick Balfour, 3rd Baron Kinross, Mark Ogilvie-Grant, John Drury-Lowe. [4]

During the Second World War, he was briefly in Winston Churchill's "S-branch" – a statistical section within the Admiralty.

At the 1945 General Election, he stood as Liberal candidate for Huddersfield and finished third of three candidates, with 16.2% of the vote. [5]

In 1966, Harrod, was the 2nd winner of the prestigious Bernhard-Harms-Preis. [6] After retiring in 1967, he moved to Holt, Norfolk.

Interviewed for the book Authors take Sides on Vietnam, Harrod declared himself a supporter of the American military campaign in Indochina. [7]

Assar Lindbeck, the former chairman of the Nobel Prize Committee, wrote that Harrod would have been awarded a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences if he had lived longer.

Harrod married Wilhelmine "Billa" Cresswell (1911–2005), step-daughter of General Sir Peter Strickland, in 1938. [8] One of their sons was Dominick Harrod, an economics correspondent for the BBC. [9]

The Life of John Maynard Keynes

After the death of his Cambridge friend and colleague, the economist John Maynard Keynes, in 1946, Harrod and Austin Robinson wrote a lengthy obituary of Keynes for The Economic Journal. [10] At the encouragement of Geoffrey Keynes, Harrod then undertook the task of writing a major biography of Keynes. The Life of John Maynard Keynes was published to widespread acclaim in 1951, at a time when most of Keynes's family and friends were still alive.

With the post-war influence of so-called Keynesian economics and then challenges to it, cultural interest in the Bloomsbury Group, and the publication of thirty volumes of The Collected Writings of John Maynard Keynes in the 1970s and 1980s, [11] high interest in Keynes's life led to further biographies, most prominently by Robert Skidelsky and Donald Moggridge, and to detailed studies such as by Donald Markwell on Keynes and international relations. These works have corrected and added details to the Keynes depicted by Harrod, and Skidelsky in particular has contrasted his account of Keynes with what he has depicted as Harrod's hagiography. [12]

List of works


Harrod was knighted in the 1959 New Year Honours. [13]


The Harrod Papers are housed at the British Library. The papers can be accessed through the British Library catalogue. [14]


  1. Oxford DNB
  2. Durlauf (ed.) & Blume (ed.) 2016, p. 836.
  3. Roy Harrod, The Life of John Maynard Keynes , Macmillan, 1951.
  4. Lancaster, Marie-Jaqueline (2005). Brian Howard: Portrait of a Failure. Timewell Press. p. 122. ISBN   9781857252118.
  5. "1945 – 1945 General Election – Huddersfield". Parliament of the United Kingdom.
  6. "Recipients of the Prize". Bernhard Harms Prize. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
  7. Cecil Woolf and John Bagguley (editors),Authors Take Sides on Vietnam, Peter Owen, 1967,(p.49).
  8. Josceline Dimbleby Billa Harrod, The Guardian, 10 June 2005
  9. Obituary: Dominick Harrod,, 5 August 2013
  10. Volume 57, March 1947.
  11. "The Collected Writings of John Maynard Keynes | History of economic thought and methodology".
  12. For example, Skidelsky in his John Maynard Keynes: Hopes Betrayed 1883–1920 (1983) (unlike Harrod) gave prominence to Keynes's homosexual activity in his early adulthood, and to Keynes being a conscientious objector in World War I. See also, e.g., JSTOR   40257846 Markwell contrasted his account of Keynes's approach to free trade after the 1920s with Harrod's. See, Donald Markwell, John Maynard Keynes and International Relations: Economic Paths to War and Peace, 2006.
  13. United Kingdom list: "No. 41589". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1958. p. 1.
  14. Harrod Papers, archives and manuscripts catalogue, the British Library. Retrieved 2 June 2020


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