John Hicks

Sir John Richard Hicks (8 April 1904 – 20 May 1989) was a British economist. He was considered one of the most important and influential economists of the twentieth century. The most familiar of his many contributions in the field of economics were his statement of consumer demand theory in microeconomics, and the IS/LM model (1937), which summarised a Keynesian view of macroeconomics. His book Value and Capital (1939) significantly extended general-equilibrium and value theory. The compensated demand function is named the Hicksian demand function in memory of him.

In 1972 he received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (jointly) for his pioneering contributions to general equilibrium theory and welfare theory.[1]

Sir John Hicks
John Hicks 1972
Hicks in 1972
John Richard Hicks

8 April 1904
Died20 May 1989 (aged 85)
Blockley, England, UK
InstitutionGonville & Caius College, Cambridge
London School of Economics
University of Manchester
Nuffield College, Oxford
School or
Neo-Keynesian economics
Alma materBalliol College, Oxford
InfluencesLéon Walras, Friedrich Hayek, Lionel Robbins, Erik Lindahl, John Maynard Keynes
ContributionsIS/LM model
Capital theory, consumer theory, general equilibrium theory, welfare theory, induced innovation
AwardsNobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (1972)
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Early life

Hicks was born in 1904 in Warwick, England, and was the son of Dorothy Catherine (Stephens) and Edward Hicks, a journalist at a local newspaper.[2]

He was educated at Clifton College (1917–1922)[3] and at Balliol College, Oxford (1922–1926), and was financed by mathematical scholarships. During his school days and in his first year at Oxford, he specialised in mathematics but also had interests in literature and history. In 1923, he moved to Philosophy, Politics and Economics, the "new school" that was just being started at Oxford. He graduated with second-class honors and, as he stated, "no adequate qualification in any of the subjects" that he had studied.[4]


From 1926 to 1935, Hicks lectured at the London School of Economics and Political Science.[5] He started as a labour economist and did descriptive work on industrial relations but gradually, he moved over to the analytical side, where his mathematics background returned to the fore. Hicks's influences included Lionel Robbins and such associates as Friedrich von Hayek, R.G.D. Allen, Nicholas Kaldor, Abba Lerner and Ursula Webb, the last of whom, in 1935, became his wife.

From 1935 to 1938, he lectured at Cambridge where he was also a fellow of Gonville & Caius College. He was occupied mainly in writing Value and Capital, which was based on his earlier work in London. From 1938 to 1946, he was Professor at the University of Manchester. There, he did his main work on welfare economics, with its application to social accounting.

In 1946, he returned to Oxford, first as a research fellow of Nuffield College (1946–1952) then as Drummond Professor of Political Economy (1952–1965) and finally as a research fellow of All Souls College (1965–1971), where he continued writing after his retirement.

Later life

Hicks was knighted in 1964 and became an honorary fellow of Linacre College. He was co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences (with Kenneth J. Arrow) in 1972. He donated the Nobel Prize to the London School of Economics and Political Science's Library Appeal in 1973.[5] He died on 20 May 1989 at his home in the Cotswold village of Blockley.[6]

Contributions to economic analysis

Hicks's early work as a labour economist culminated in The Theory of Wages (1932, 2nd ed. 1963), still considered standard in the field. He collaborated with R.G.D. Allen in two seminal papers on value theory published in 1934.

His magnum opus is Value and Capital published in 1939. The book built on ordinal utility and mainstreamed the now-standard distinction between the substitution effect and the income effect for an individual in demand theory for the 2-good case. It generalised the analysis to the case of one good and a composite good, that is, all other goods. It aggregated individuals and businesses through demand and supply across the economy. It anticipated the aggregation problem, most acutely for the stock of capital goods. It introduced general equilibrium theory to an English-speaking audience, refined the theory for dynamic analysis, and for the first time attempted a rigorous statement of stability conditions for general equilibrium. In the course of analysis Hicks formalised comparative statics. In the same year, he also developed the famous "compensation" criterion called Kaldor–Hicks efficiency for welfare comparisons of alternative public policies or economic states.

Hicks's most familiar contribution in macroeconomics was the Hicks–Hansen IS–LM model,[7] published in his paper “Mr. Keynes and the "Classics"; a suggested interpretation”. This model formalised an interpretation of the theory of John Maynard Keynes (see Keynesian economics), and describes the economy as a balance between three commodities: money, consumption and investment. Hicks himself wavered in his acceptance of his IS-LM formulation; in a paper published in 1980 he dismissed it as a ‘classroom gadget’.[8]

Contributions to interpretation of income for accounting purposes

Hicks's influential discourse on income sets the basis for its subjectivity but relevancy for accounting purposes. He aptly summarized it as follows. “The purpose of income calculations in practical affairs is to give people an indication of the amount they can consume without impoverishing themselves”.[9]

Formally, he defined income precisely in three measures:

Hicks's number 1 measure of income: “the maximum amount, which can be spent during a period if there is to be an expectation of maintaining intact the capital value of prospective receipts (in money terms)” (Hicks, 1946, p. 173)[10]

Hicks's number 2 measure of income (market price-neutral): "the maximum amount the individual can spend during a week, and still expect to be able to spend the same amount in each ensuing week” (Hicks, 1946, p. 174).[10]

Hicks's number 3 measure of income (takes into account market prices): “the maximum amount of money which an individual can spend this week, and still expect to be able to spend the same amount in real terms in each ensuing week” (Hicks, 1946, p. 174)[10]

See also

Selected publications

  • 1932, 2nd ed., 1963. The Theory of Wages. London, Macmillan.
  • 1934. "A Reconsideration of the Theory of Value," with R. G. D. Allen, Economica.
  • 1937. "Mr Keynes and the Classics: A Suggested Interpretation," Econometrica.
  • 1939. "The Foundations of Welfare Economics", Economic Journal.
  • 1939, 2nd ed. 1946. Value and Capital. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • 1940. "The Valuation of Social Income," Economica, 7:105–24.
  • 1941. "The Rehabilitation of Consumers' Surplus," Review of Economic Studies.
  • 1942. The Social Framework: An Introduction to Economics.
  • 1950. A Contribution to the Theory of the Trade Cycle, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • 1956. A Revision of Demand Theory, Oxford: Clarendon.
  • 1958. "The Measurement of Real Income," Oxford Economic Papers.
  • 1959. Essays in World Economics, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • 1961. "Measurement of Capital in Relation to the Measurement of Other Economic Aggregates", in Lutz and Hague, editors, Theory of Capital.
  • 1965. Capital and Growth. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • 1969. A Theory of Economic History. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Scroll to chapter-preview links.
  • 1970. "Review of Friedman", Economic Journal.
  • 1973. "The Mainspring of Economic Growth", Nobel Lectures, Economics 1969–1980, Editor Assar Lindbeck, World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore, 1992.
  • 1973. Autobiography for Nobel Prize
  • 1974. "Capital Controversies: Ancient and Modern", American Economic Review.
  • 1975. "What Is Wrong with Monetarism", Lloyds Bank Review.
  • 1976. Economic Perspectives. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • 1979, "The Formation of an Economist." Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, no. 130 (September 1979): 195–204.
  • 1980. "IS-LM: An Explanation," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics.
  • 1981. Wealth and Welfare: Vol I. of Collected Essays in Economic Theory. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
  • 1982. Money, Interest and Wages: Vol. II of Collected Essays in Economic Theory. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
  • 1983. Classics and Moderns: Vol. III of Collected Essays in Economic Theory. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
  • 1989. A Market Theory of Money. Oxford University Press.


  1. ^ The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 1972. Retrieved on 28 July 2013.
  2. ^ Creedy, John (2011). John and Ursula Hicks (PDF). Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne. ISBN 9780734044761.
  3. ^ "Clifton College Register" Muirhead, J.A.O. p357: Bristol; J.W Arrowsmith for Old Cliftonian Society; April, 1948
  4. ^ John R. Hicks – Biographical. (20 May 1989). Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
  5. ^ a b "Sir John Hicks". London School of Economics. 13 March 2009. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
  6. ^ john hicks – British Academy Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  7. ^ Hicks, J. R. (1937). "Mr. Keynes and the 'Classics', A Suggested Interpretation". Econometrica. 5 (2): 147–159. JSTOR 1907242.
  8. ^ Hicks, J. R. (1980). "'IS-LM': An Explanation". Journal of Post Keynesian Economics. 3 (2): 139–154. JSTOR 4537583.
  9. ^ "The Hicks' Concept of Income and Its Relevancy for Accounting Purposes". Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  10. ^ a b c "The Hicks' Concept of Income and Its Relevancy for Accounting Purposes". Retrieved 18 August 2016.

Further reading

  • Christopher Bliss, [1987] 2008. "Hicks, John Richard (1904–1989)", The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics. Abstract.
  • Sen, Amartya; Zamagni, Stefano; Scazzieri, Roberto (2008). Markets, money and capital: Hicksian economics for the twenty-first century. Cambridge, UK New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521873215.

External links

Preceded by
Simon Kuznets
Laureate of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics
Served alongside: Kenneth J. Arrow
Succeeded by
Wassily Leontief
After the Morning (1979 John Hicks album)

After the Morning is the debut release by American pianist John Hicks recorded in 1979 and released on the West 54 label. Two earlier sessions led by Hicks were released on Strata-East Records following this album.

After the Morning (1992 John Hicks album)

After the Morning is a solo piano album by John Hicks. It was recorded in concert at the 1992 Montreal International Jazz Festival.

Crazy for You (John Hicks album)

Crazy for You is a trio album led by pianist John Hicks, recorded in 1992.

Duality (Peter Leitch and John Hicks album)

Duality is an album by guitarist Peter Leitch and pianist John Hicks that was recorded in 1994.

Friends Old and New

Friends Old and New is an album led by pianist John Hicks, recorded in 1992.

Gentle Rain (John Hicks album)

Gentle Rain is a trio album led by pianist John Hicks, recorded in 1994.

I Remember You (John Hicks album)

I Remember You is a live solo album by pianist John Hicks which was recorded in 2006 shortly before Hick's death and released on the HighNote label. The album was released posthumously in 2009.

In Concert (John Hicks album)

In Concert is a live album by American jazz pianist John Hicks recorded in 1984 at various locations around San Francisco and released on the Theresa label in 1986. The 1993 Evidence CD reissue added two bonus tracks.

In the Mix (album)

In the Mix is an album by pianist John Hicks, recorded in 1994.

John Hicks (American football)

John Charles Hicks Jr. (March 21, 1951 – October 29, 2016) was an American football offensive lineman in the National Football League. He is best remembered for being the last lineman to be runner-up in the vote for the Heisman Trophy.

John Hicks (album)

John Hicks is an album led by the eponymous pianist, recorded in 1982.

John Hicks (pianist)

John Josephus Hicks, Jr. (December 21, 1941 – May 10, 2006) was an American jazz pianist, composer, and arranger. He was leader for more than 30 recordings and played as a sideman on more than 300.After early experiences backing blues musicians, Hicks moved to New York in 1963. He was part of Art Blakey's band for two years, then backed vocalist Betty Carter from 1965 to 1967, before joining Woody Herman's big band, where he stayed until 1970. Following these largely mainstream jazz experiences, Hicks expanded into freer bands, including those of trumpeters Charles Tolliver and Lester Bowie. He rejoined Carter in 1975; the five-year stay brought him more attention and helped to launch his recording career as a leader. He continued to play and record extensively in the United States and internationally. Under his own leadership, his recordings were mostly bebop-influenced, while those for other leaders continued to be in a diversity of styles, including multi-year associations with saxophonists Arthur Blythe, David Murray, David "Fathead" Newman, and Pharoah Sanders.

Luminous (John Hicks and Elise Wood album)

Luminous is an album by pianist John Hicks and flautist Elise Wood.

Piece for My Peace

Piece for My Peace is an album by pianist John Hicks, recorded in 1995.

Rhythm-a-Ning (album)

Rhythm-a-Ning is a live album by pianists Kenny Barron and John Hicks recorded as part of the 5th Annual Riverside Park Arts Festival in 1989 and released on the Candid label.

Sketches of Tokyo

Sketches of Tokyo is an album by John Hicks and David Murray released on the Japanese DIW label. It was released in 1986 and features six duo performances by Murray and Hicks.

Steadfast (John Hicks album)

Steadfast is one of two albums recorded by American jazz pianist John Hicks during his first studio session as leader in 1975. It was ultimately released on the Strata-East and Bellaphon Records labels in 1991.

Two of a Kind (Ray Drummond and John Hicks album)

Two of a Kind is an album by American jazz pianist John Hicks and bassist Ray Drummond recorded in 1986 and 1987 and released on the Theresa label. The 1992 Evidence CD reissue added three bonus tracks.

Twogether (John Hicks and Frank Morgan album)

Twogether is an album by pianist John Hicks and alto saxophonist Frank Morgan. It was released by HighNote Records.

New Keynesians
Macroeconomic schools of thought

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