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Darity, William A., Jr. & Young, Warren (1995). IS-LM: An Inquest. History of Political Economy, 27(1), 1-41.


Whether the IS-LM framework is to be vilified for its elusive, chameleonlike character or to be cherished for its flexibility remains an open question. What is not open to question is that its development and widespread adoption as the central mode of analytical expression for macroeconomists in the post-World War I era was linked intimately to the endeavor to give mathematical structure to Keynes’s General Theory (1936). In his book, Interpreting MK Keynes: The IS-LM Enigma (1987), one of the coauthors of this article, Warren Young, has examined the social and intellectual interactions among the principal figures involved in the creation of the IS-LM approach. The current essay has a different emphasis. Our focus here is on the tools rather than on the toolmakers. Therefore, we explore the content of the various models purporting to represent Keynes’s message below in comparative fashion, rather than the personalities who developed the models. There is surprising diversity in these early models.


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Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

History of Political Economy


Darity, William A., Jr.
Young, Warren