James Edward Meade (1907-1995)

James Meade was an economist who was awarded the Nobel memorial prize in 1977 for his contributions to twentieth-century economic theory.

Meade originally came to Oriel as an undergraduate to study Greats (Classics) but switched to the newly-established Philosophy, Politics and Economics course at the end of his second year. He left Oriel with an outstanding first-class degree in 1930, after which he was elected to a Fellowship in Economics at Hertford College.

During the Second World War, Meade worked as an economic advisor to the British government in what would become the economic section of the war cabinet office, and he was heavily involved in the founding of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (now the World Trade Organisation).

In 1947, Meade took up a position at the London School of Economics and ten years later in 1957 he became Professor of Political Economy at Cambridge.

Meade was awarded his Nobel Prize in 1977 for his work on the theory of international trade and customs unions, contained in the first two volumes of The Theory of International Economic Policy.

Other key contributions throughout Meade’s career include the treatise Efficiency, Equality and the Ownership of Property (1964) and his chairmanship of the Institute for Fiscal Studies’ Committee on the Structure and Reform of Direct Taxation. As one of his obituaries noted, Meade “…more than anyone since John Maynard Keynes, influenced the way in which economic policy is now discussed in Britain”.

More about James Meade: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.