Who is James E. Meade

James E. Meade was a Keynesian economist who won the 1977 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, along with Bertil Ohlin, for his research on international trade and international capital movements. Meade analyzed how government policies affected trade and how trade policies affected economic well being. He twice held economic positions in the British government, where his research affected economic policy in Britain after WWII. His other major research interest was mass unemployment.


Meade taught commerce at the London School of Economics and political economy at Cambridge. He was also a member of the League of Nations in the economics section. James Meade was born in 1907 and died in 1995.

James E. Meade Career Highlights

Meade was a lecturer at Hertford College, Oxford from 1931 to 1937. Shortly after, he was made a member of the economics section of the League of Nations in Geneva in 1937, where he worked as the main editor of the journal "World Economic Survey" and published the 17th and the 18th editions.

In April, 1940, World War II forced Meade to leave Geneva for England with his family of three children. He became a member of the Economic Section of the War Cabinet Secretariat in England, where he remained until 1947, rising to the post of Director in 1946. Joined by Lionel Robbins and Keynes, Meade worked to solve everyday economic problems related to the war, ranging from the rationing system to the pricing policies of nationalized companies.

Meade became the professor of trade at London School of Economics in 1947, where the Economics department was headed by Lionel Robbins. While he was in Oxford, Meade had written a short textbook titled "An Introduction to Economic Analysis and Policy." Meade believed it was time to rewrite the book while teaching international economics and slowly cultivated the original text into Meade's two books, The Balance of Payments (1951) and Trade and Welfare (1955).

The Balance of Payments states that for each of its policy objectives, a government requires a policy tool. The second book, Trade and Welfare, deals with conditions under which free trade makes a country better off and conditions under which it does not. Meade concluded that, contrary to previous beliefs, if a country was already protecting one of its markets from international competition, further protection of another market could be "second best." That is, although the ideal would be to eliminate all trade barriers, if, for some reason this was not feasible, then adding a measured amount of protectionism could improve a nation's economy.