An endowed research fund has been established at the School, in honour of Professor Ludwig M Lachmann (MSc Economics 1935), in accordance with the wishes of his late wife Margot Lachmann. Professor Lachmann was a German economist who studied and worked at LSE, where he was taught by and later worked alongside Friedrich Hayek. He is seen as a key contributor to the ‘Austrian School’ of economic thought that developed over the early 20th century.
Lachmann first registered as an occasional student at LSE in 1931, pursuing an MSc two years later. With Hayek as his supervisor, his thesis was entitled Capital Structure and Depression. He went on to register as an occasional research student, and as Hayek’s research assistant he observed first-hand the debates between Hayek and John Maynard Keynes on the role of the markets and governments which developed throughout the 1930s.
William Beveridge, Director of LSE from 1919 to 1937, once wrote in a reference for Lachmann that “throughout his course of study here he has proved himself to be an industrious student, as a most useful member of the Economic Theory seminar.” In 1939, Professor Lionel Robbins, the head of Economics who first appointed Hayek to the department, wrote in support of a fellowship to help Lachmann continue his research, stating that “Dr. Lachmannn is an extremely conscientious man who may be trusted to make the utmost of every minute during which he is supported at his work.”
After LSE, Lachmann went on to teach at the University of Hull and the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, where he became President of the Economic Society of South Africa in 1961. From 1974 to 1987 he regularly travelled to New York to work with Israel Kirzner, who intended to reinvigorate the Austrian School. A result of this was Lachmann’s leading of the annual Austrian Economics Seminar, organised each winter at New York University.
The Ludwig M Lachmann Research Fund will be allocated to research in the field of the Austrian School, as well to research into the foundations and philosophical underpinning of economics in general. This may include professorships, fellowships, PhD student scholarships, research projects and events. The fund will be administered by the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, and the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science.