Hugh Dalton (1887–1962)

  • John E. KingEmail author


Hugh Dalton combined a brief but very successful academic career, spent entirely at LSE, with a deep commitment to the Labour Party. Cassell Reader in Economics from 1920 to 1935, when he resigned in order to devote himself to politics, Dalton published important work on public finance, the distribution of income and wealth and the economics of socialism. His authoritative textbook, Principles of Public Finance, was still selling well in the early 1950s having first appeared in 1922, and his 1920 article on ‘The Measurement of the Inequality of Incomes’ was rediscovered in the 1970s and has been very widely cited ever since. Dalton was essentially a pre-Keynesian economist, who applied A.C. Pigou’s neoclassical microeconomics to develop a surprisingly radical brand of democratic socialism.


Public finance Capital levy Inequality Income distribution Socialism 


Main Works by Hugh Dalton

  1. Dalton, H. (1920a). ‘The Measurement of the Inequality of Incomes’. Economic Journal, 30(119): 348–361. Reprinted as an appendix to later printings of Dalton (1920b) and in Economic Journal (2015), 125(583): 221–234.Google Scholar
  2. Dalton, H. (1920b). Some Aspects of the Inequality of Incomes in Modern Communities. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Dalton, H. (1921a). ‘Review of Per una Riforma Socialista del Diritto Successorio [A Socialist Reform of the Inheritance Laws], by E. Rignano’. Economic Journal, 31(121): 99–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dalton, H. (1921b). ‘Some Recent Contributions to the Study of Public Finance’. Economica, 2(May): 199–206.Google Scholar
  5. Dalton, H. (1922a). Principles of Public Finance. London: Routledge (cited from the fifth, ‘enlarged, revised and reset’ edition of 1929).Google Scholar
  6. Dalton, H. (1922b). ‘Some Recent Books on Industry’. Economica, 5(June): 181–190.Google Scholar
  7. Dalton, H. (1923a). The Capital Levy Explained. London: Labour Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  8. Dalton, H. (1923b). ‘A New Contribution to the Population Problem’. Economica, 8(June): 122–132.Google Scholar
  9. Dalton, H. (1925). ‘Discussion on the National Debt’. Economic Journal, 35(139): 351–356.Google Scholar
  10. Dalton, H. (1927). ‘Professor Cannan’s General Contribution’. In T.E. Gregory and H. Dalton (eds) London Essays in Economics: In Honour of Edwin Cannan. London: Routledge: 3–27.Google Scholar
  11. Dalton, H. (1928a). ‘The Theory of Population’. Economica, 22(March): 28–50.Google Scholar
  12. Dalton, H. (1928b). ‘Review of A Study in Public Finance, by A.C. Pigou’. Economica, 23(June): 216–221.Google Scholar
  13. Dalton, H. (1928c). Towards the Peace of Nations: A Study in International Politics. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Dalton, H. (1931). ‘British Foreign Policy, 1929–1931’. Political Quarterly, 2(4): 485–505.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dalton, H. (1933). ‘A General View of the Soviet Economy, with Special Reference to Planning’. Chapter 2 in M.I. Cole (ed.) Twelve Studies in Soviet Russia. London: Gollancz: 13–34.Google Scholar
  16. Dalton, H. (1934). ‘Part I. Introductory’, and ‘Part VIII. Conclusions’. In H. Dalton, B. Thomas, J.N. Reedman, T.J. Hughes and W.J. Leaning, Unbalanced Budgets: A Study of the Financial Crisis in Fifteen Countries. London: Routledge: 1–16 and 432–459 respectively.Google Scholar
  17. Dalton, H. (1935a). ‘Taxation of Income and Inherited Wealth’. Chapter XVII in H. Tracy (ed.) The Book of the Labour Party, Volume II. London: Claxton: 285–301.Google Scholar
  18. Dalton, H. (1935b). Practical Socialism for Britain. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Dalton, H. (1935c). ‘The Present International Situation’. Political Quarterly, 6(3): 323–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dalton, H. (1936). ‘The “Popular Front”’. Political Quarterly, 7(4): 481–489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dalton, H. (1940). Hitler’s War: Before and After. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  22. Dalton, H. (1953a). ‘Review of The Economic Blockade, Vol. I, 1939–41, by W.N. Medlicott’. Economic Journal, 63(251): 660–668.Google Scholar
  23. Dalton, H. (1953b). Call Back Yesterday: Memoirs 1887–1931. London: Frederick Muller.Google Scholar
  24. Dalton, H. (1954). ‘Review of British Public Finances, by U. Hicks’. Economica, New Series, 21(84): 342–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Dalton, H. (1957). The Fateful Years: Memoirs 1931–1945. London: Frederick Muller.Google Scholar
  26. Dalton, H. (1962). High Tide and After: Memoirs 1945–1960. London: Frederick Muller.Google Scholar
  27. Dalton, H. (1986a). The Political Diary of Hugh Dalton: 1918–40, 1945–60. London: Jonathan Cape.Google Scholar
  28. Dalton, H. (1986b). The Second World War Diary of Hugh Dalton. London: Jonathan Cape.Google Scholar

Other Works Referred To

  1. Addison, P. (1977). The Road to 1945: British Politics and the Second World War. London: Quartet Books.Google Scholar
  2. Atkinson, A.B. and A. Brandolini (2015). ‘Unveiling the Ethics Behind Inequality Measurement: Dalton’s Contribution to Economics’. Economic Journal, 125(583): 209–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cobb, C.W. and P.H. Douglas (1928). ‘A Theory of Production’. American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings, 18(1): 139–165.Google Scholar
  4. Cox, H. (1923). The Capital Levy: Its Real Purpose. Westminster: National Unionist Association.Google Scholar
  5. Crosland, C.A.R. (1956). The Future of Socialism. London: Jonathan Cape.Google Scholar
  6. Duff, D.G. (2005). ‘The Abolition of Wealth Transfer Taxes: Lessons from Canada, Australia and New Zealand’. Pittsburgh Tax Review, 3(71): 71–120.Google Scholar
  7. Durbin, E. (1985). New Jerusalems: The Labour Party and the Economics of Democratic Socialism. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Erreygers, G. and G. Di Bartolomeo (2007). ‘The Debates on Eugenio Rignano’s Inheritance Tax Proposals’. History of Political Economy, 39(4): 605–638.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gini, C. (1921). ‘Measurement of Inequality of Incomes’. Economic Journal, 31(121): 124–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hicks, U.K. (1955). ‘Review of Principles of Public Finance (1954 edition), by H. Dalton’. Economica, New Series, 22(88): 360–361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. King, J.E. (2015). ‘A Post Keynesian Critique of Swabian Housewife Logic’. Chapter 2 in A. Bitzenis, N. Karagiannis and J. Marangos (eds) Europe in Crisis. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan: 29–43.Google Scholar
  12. King, J.E. (2017). ‘The Literature on Piketty’. Review of Political Economy, 29(1): 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lerner, A.P. (1944). The Economics of Control: Principles of Welfare Economics. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  14. Leventhal, F.M. (1988). ‘Review of Hugh Dalton, by B. Pimlott’. American Historical Review, 93(2): 422–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Mayshar, J. and S. Yitzhaki (1995). ‘Dalton-Improving Indirect Tax Reform’. American Economic Review, 85(4): 793–807.Google Scholar
  16. Milner, E. and D. Milner (1918). Schemes for a State Bonus: A Rational Method of Solving the Social Problem. London: Simpkin, Marshall & Co.Google Scholar
  17. Peacock, A. (1987). ‘Dalton, Edward Hugh John Neale (1887–1962)’ in J. Eatwell, M. Milgate and P. Newman (eds) The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics. Volume 2: London: Macmillan: 360.Google Scholar
  18. Pigou, A.C. (1912). Wealth and Welfare. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  19. Pigou, A.C. (1938). Socialism versus Capitalism. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  20. Piketty, T. (2014). Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Pimlott, B. (1985). Hugh Dalton. London: Jonathan Cape.Google Scholar
  22. Pimlott, B. (2004). ‘Dalton, (Edward) Hugh Neale, Baron Dalton (1887–1962)’. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Online edition. Available at:
  23. Rignano, E. (1901). Di un Socialismo in Accordo Colla Dottrina Economica Liberale. Turin: Fratelli Bocca Editori.Google Scholar
  24. Robbins, L. (1971). Autobiography of an Economist. London: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Skidelsky, R. (2004). John Maynard Keynes, 1883–1946: Economist, Philosopher, Statesman. London: Pan.Google Scholar
  26. Van Parijs, P. (1995). Real Freedom For All: What (If Anything) Can Justify Capitalism? Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  27. Webb, B. (1956). Beatrice Webb’s Diaries, 1924–1932. London: Longmans, Green.Google Scholar
  28. Yitzhaki, S. and J.D. Lewis (1996). ‘Guidelines on Searching for a Dalton-Improving Tax Reform: An Illustration with Data from Indonesia’. World Bank Economic Review, 10(3): 541–562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Yntema, D.B. (1933). ‘Measures of the Inequality in the Personal Distribution of Wealth or Income’. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 28(184): 423–433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Emeritus Professor, La Trobe University and Honorary ProfessorFederation UniversityBallaratAustralia

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