Heinrich Von Stackelberg and the Diffusion of Ordoliberal Economics in Franco's Spain

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Economic historians regard Ordoliberalism as a school of thought whose reach was limited to Germany. Challenging this popular view, this study shows that Ordoliberalism also had considerable impact on Spanish economics during the 1940s and 1950s, despite the fact that Spain's policy establishment favored a state-led and predominantly anti-liberal development model. This puzzling outcome was the result of the exceptional ideational entrepreneurship of Ordoliberal economist Heinrich von Stackelberg, who was a visiting professor in Madrid from 1943 until his death in 1946. His intellectual entrepreneurship in the Spanish economic profession proved to have lasting consequences, as the policy-oriented intellectuals he influenced came to occupy leading positions in academia and economic policy institutions. This paper also contributes to the empirical literature on the diffusion of economic ideas across national epistemic boundaries by highlighting the role of exceptional economists acting as carriers of new economic ideas. Finally, the study helps illuminate a critical juncture in the intellectual history of Spanish economics during the Francoist regime.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHistory of Economic Ideas
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)85-105
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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