The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Rae, John (1796–1872)

  • K. H. Hennings
Reference work entry


John Rae was born in Aberdeen on 1 June 1796 into a merchant and shipping family. He graduated from the University of Aberdeen in 1815 and read medicine in the University of Edinburgh, but had to abandon his studies when his father’s business failed in 1817. He emigrated to Canada in 1822 and turned to medical practice (whence ‘Dr’ Rae) and school teaching. He also participated in public affairs, but his career was shattered in 1848 when he was dismissed on spurious grounds after becoming embroiled in controversies about church control of education. Rae set out to start a new life first in California, and then the Hawaiian island of Maui. After another 20 years of farming, teaching, providing medical services to the natives, and serving as district judge and notary public, Rae went to live with a former pupil in New York, where he died on 12 July 1872.


Bentham, J. Böhm-Bawerk, E. von Capital accumulation Capital goods Capital theory Conspicuous consumption Division of labour Free trade Infant-industry protection Internal rate of return Inventions Lauderdale, Eighth Earl of Liquidity preference Rae, J. (1798–1872) Schumpeter, P. A. Smith, A. Social preferences Social rate of return Technical progress Time preference Veblen, T. Wicksell effects 

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. H. Hennings
    • 1
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