The shaping of public economic discourse in postwar America: the 1947 meat shortage and Franco Modigliani's meat plan

Pier Francesco Asso, Sebastiano Nerozzi, Michele Alacevich, Michele Alacevich

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Abstract

This paper aims to assess Franco Modigliani’s contribution to the American post war debate over price controls and economic stabilization. We will focus on his unpublished “Plan for meeting the domestic meat shortage without price control and rationing”. Elaborated by Modigliani in the Summer of 1947 the plan was designed to cope with the problem of meat shortage arising from crop failures aggravated by the implementation of the European Recovery Program. It was based on a system of taxes and subsidies aiming to realize a proper distribution of disposable income and to warrant a minimum meat consumption without encroaching market mechanisms and consumers’ freedom. In the paper we will describe the contents of the plan and its subsequent refinements; the comments and reactions from economists, economic advisers and politicians; the reasons for its failure. Finally we will try to assess the importance of this proposal in Modigliani’s professional career and in the development of his approach to Keynesian economics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-42
Number of pages40
JournalResearch in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology
Volume33
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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