G.C. Harcourt: An economist with accounting sense

Boianovsky, Mauro and Repapis, Constantinos. 2023. G.C. Harcourt: An economist with accounting sense. The Economic and Labour Relations Review, 34(2), pp. 233-249. ISSN 1035-3046 [Article]

Harcourt for ELRR revised final_with corrections Feb 6 .pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (384kB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

Geoffrey Colin Harcourt’s work on the interface between accountancy and economics is a part of his legacy that is less well-known than his work on the capital controversies. This paper argues that the analytical findings of this research effort are an important and integral part of Harcourt’s overall research programme. In this paper we review Harcourt’s work on the relation between economics and accounting from the time of his undergraduate thesis to 1969, the date of the publication with Robert Parker of the edited volume Readings in the Concept and Measurement of Income. This paper intends to offer insights on A) the evolution of Harcourt’s thought during this period and a survey of the significant contributions he made to research in this field during this time, and B) the legacy of his approach and findings. We argue that his ideas in this domain offer important insights in doing post-Keynesian economics in the Harcourt mould. We find that Harcourt’s insights on the issues relating to the accounting rate of profit as used by economists remains relevant to today, as well as his implicit suggestions on how to deal with the complexities of the problems that ensue both for the theorist, practical economist, businessman, and policy advisor. Harcourt’s work suggests that we should not aim to replace one monolithic way of seeing things with another, indicating that the useful definition of key concepts and tools is determined by the problem and hence by the policy question one wants to answer.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Additional Information:

JEL codes. B22, B31, M41

This article has been published in a revised form in 'The Economic and Labour Relations Review' [http://doi.org/10.1017/elr.2023.6]. This version is published under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND licence. No commercial re-distribution or re-use allowed. Derivative works cannot be distributed. © The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of UNSW Canberra


Accounting, economic policy, post-Keynesianism, Harcourt, measurement

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute of Management Studies


7 February 2023Accepted
11 May 2023Published Online
June 2023Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

08 Feb 2023 13:20

Last Modified:

31 Jul 2023 13:57

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)