The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

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Hutchison, Terence Wilmot (1912–2007)

  • Roger E. Backhouse
Living reference work entry

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Terence Hutchison, a specialist in economic methodology and the history of economic thought, defended the idea that, if economics was to make progress, economic propositions needed to be testable and confronted with evidence. This, together with scepticism about theory based on the assumption of perfect knowledge, informed not only his methodological writing but also his work on the history of economics.


Economic policy Economic theory History of economics Hutchison, Terence Wilmot Machlup, Fritz Ricardo, David Robbins, Lionel Robinson, Joan Statistics Truth in economics 

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This article draws on an obituary written by the author for The Times, published on December 5, 2007. See Coats (1983a, b) for appraisals of Hutchison’s work, and the interviews recorded in Tribe (1997) and Hart (2002).


  1. Coats, A.W. 1983a. Half a century of methodological controversy in economics: As reflected in the writings of T.W. Hutchison. In Methodological controversy in economics: Historical essays in honor of T.W. Hutchison, ed. A.W. Coats, 1–42. Greenwich: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  2. Coats, A.W. 1983b. T.W. Hutchison as a historian of economics. In The craft of the historian of economic thought. Research in the history of economic thought and methodology: A research annual, ed. W.J. Samuels, vol. 1, 187–208. Greenwich: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  3. Hart, J. 2002. A conversation with Terence Hutchison. Journal of Economic Methodology 9 (3): 359–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Knight, F.H. 1940. ‘What is truth?’ in economics. Journal of Political Economy 48 (1): 1–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Machlup, F. 1955. The problem of verification in economics. Southern Economic Journal 22 (1): 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Machlup, F. 1956. Rejoinder to a reluctant ultra-empiricist. Southern Economic Journal 22 (4): 483–493.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Robbins, L.C. 1932. Essay on the nature and significance of economic science. London: Macmillan. 2nd ed., 1935.Google Scholar
  8. Tribe, K. 1997. Terence Hutchison. In Economic careers: Economics and economists in Britain, 1930–1970. London: Routledge, chapter 8.Google Scholar

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© The Author(s) 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger E. Backhouse
    • 1
  1. 1.