Robert Neild

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Robert Neild (1967)

Robert Ralph Neild (born September 10, 1924 in Peterborough - † December 18, 2018 ) was a British economist .

Robert Neild was Professor of Economics at Cambridge University and Fellow of Trinity College , Cambridge . He was the first director at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute from 1967 to 1971.


Robert Neild first attended the Charterhouse School in Godalming . In 1943 he joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the Second World War , but was retired the following year. Instead, he worked for the RAF Coastal Command in a research team that dealt with the detection of submarines. In 1945 he was involved in investigations into the use of aircraft in attacks on ground targets. He traveled to Germany, where he inspected the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and Hamburg, which was badly damaged after the war .

From autumn 1945 Neild studied at Trinity College. Since he had previously taken part in short RAF seminars in Cambridge, he was able to obtain his bachelor's degree after just two years. One of his university teachers was Piero Sraffa , with whom he befriended, but whose ability to teach him something he doubted. Above all, Neild learned through self-study, including according to Alfred Marshall's Principles of Economics . He finally graduated with top marks ("First Class").

It was through Sraffa that Neild met the Hungarian economist Nicholas Kaldor . He became head of the research and planning department of the Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva. Neild also worked for the Economic Commission from 1947 to 1951, the managing director of which was the Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal . Kaldor and Myrdal had a significant influence on Neild's further development as economists. From 1951 to 1956 Neild worked in the economics department of the Cabinet Office . At the same time, he obtained his Cambridge Masters degree in 1952.

1956 returned Neild back to Trinity College, where he spent two years as a Fellow and lecturer ( lecturer taught) economics. However, he was bothered by the one-to-one tuition for students, which he also had to do, and the political climate at the faculty. In 1958 he moved to the London economic institute "National Institute of Economic and Social Research". There he worked initially as editor of the quarterly economic report and later until 1964 as deputy director of the institute. From 1962 to 1963 he was also involved in the India project of the MIT Center for International Studies.

After the Labor Party won the election in 1964, James Callaghan Neild appointed Chief Economic Advisor to the Treasury. He held this office until 1967. He was also a member of the Fulton Committee, which from 1966 to 1968 prepared a report on the situation of the British civil service. From 1967 to 1971 he was director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Under his leadership, the SIPRI yearbook was created, in which the status of the upgrade was documented. The institute investigated the arms trade and, as a partial success, by issuing warnings to the governments, was able to contribute to the fact that chemical and biological weapons were banned by treaties, even if the arms race as a whole could not be stopped.

In 1971 Neild accepted the call to Cambridge University , where he held the chair of economics until 1984. After his retirement he was visiting professor at Hampshire College (1985) as part of the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program .


Robert Neild was the son of Ralph and Josephine Neild. He was married to Nora Clemens Sayre from 1957 to 1961 and to Elizabeth Walton Griffiths from 1962 to 1986. In 2004 he married Virginia Matheson. He had a son and four daughters.


Neild was a representative of Keynesianism and an empiricist .

In order to be able to create better economic predictions for the "National Institute of Economic and Social Research", he examined hypotheses about relationships between prices, wages and the trend in productivity during his work there. He published his findings in 1963 in the work Pricing and Employment in the Trade Cycle .

With Terry Ward he developed ways to improve British budgetary policy ( The Measurement and Reform of Budgetary Policy , 1978). They proposed a simultaneous planning of expenses and taxes on the basis of constant employment ("Constant Employment Balance"). In a similar form, the “Structural Budget Balance” became the standard in the European Union. With Frank Hahn , Neild wrote an open letter in 1981 that opposed the monetarism propagated by Margaret Thatcher and was signed by 364 economists.

After his retirement, Neild published on the subject of corruption ( Public Corruption , 2002) and used the case study of oyster prices to show the differences between the British and French economic systems ( The English, the French and the Oyster , 1995).

In addition to his services as an economist, Neild made an important contribution to peace research . Together with the Danish researcher Anders Boserup (1940–1990) he developed strategies for ending the arms race without nuclear weapons ( The Foundations of Defense Defense , 1990), and used his influence to make them known.


  • Pricing and employment in the trade cycle: A study of British manufacturing industry, 1950–51. University Press, Cambridge 1963.
  • with Terence Sydney Ward: The Measurement and Reform of Budgetary Policy. Heinemann Educational Books, London 1978, ISBN 0-435-84880-1 .
  • Tax Policy in Papua New Guinea. Institute of National Affairs, Port Moresby 1980.
  • How to Make Up Your Mind about the Bomb. A. Deutsch, London 1981, ISBN 0-233-97382-6 .
  • An Essay on Strategy: as it Affects the Achievement of Peace in a Nuclear Setting. Macmillan, Houndmills 1990, ISBN 0-333-52986-3 .
  • with Anders Boserup: The Foundations of Defensive Defense. Macmillan, London 1990, ISBN 0-333-52998-7 .
  • The English, the French and the Oyster. Quiller Press, London 1995, ISBN 1-899163-12-3 .
  • Public corruption. The Dark Side of Social Evolution. Anthem, London 2002, ISBN 1-8433-1065-1 .
  • Riches and Responsibility: The financial history of Trinity College. Granta Editions, Cambridge 2008.
  • The Financial History of Cambridge University. Thames River Press, London 2012, ISBN 978-0-85728-515-7 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h Geoffrey M. Hodgson, Francesca Gagliardi, David Gindis: From Cambridge Keynesian to institutional economist: the unnoticed contributions of Robert Neild. In: Journal of Institutional Economics. Volume 14, Issue 4, August 2018, pp. 767–786. doi : 10.1017 / S1744137417000534
  2. ^ Neild, Prof. Robert Ralph. In: The academic who's who: university teachers in the British Isles in arts, education and social sciences, 1973-1974. Black, London 1973.
  3. a b c Neild, Prof. Robert Ralph. In: Who's Who 2018. Black. doi : 10.1093 / ww / 9780199540884.013.U29283