Keynes, Knight, and Fundamental Uncertainty: A Double Centenary 1921–2021
Robert W. Dimand
Review of Political Economy, 2021, vol. 33, issue 4, 570-584
John Maynard Keynes’s Treatise on Probability (1921) and Frank Knight’s Risk, Uncertainty and Profit (1921) independently stressed the distinction between insurable risk and uninsurable fundamental uncertainty (in Knight’s terminology), inspiring two literatures that have engaged with each other only intermittently. I explore the relationship between what Keynes wrote about uncertainty in his Treatise and what Knight published the same year, and consider what contributions by Truman Bewley and by Kiyohiko Nishimura and Hiroyuki Ozaki on Knightian uncertainty and Knightian decision theory have to offer for furthering understanding of Keynes on uncertainty, particularly as suggesting a response to Alan Coddington’s critique of the risk/uncertainty distinction.
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