Charles Wickens: The Australian Government's First Economist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The contribution of Charles Wickens to Australian economics has been overlooked for too long. As well as his distinguished service as Commonwealth Statistician, and high reputation as an actuary, he was a key economic adviser to government for many years. He was effectively the first Australian government economist. He was the man to whom other public servants turned with economic problems. Along with Douglas Copland, he had a major role in the establishment of the Economic Society. He was a major contributor to its journal, the Economic Record. He challenged the then economic orthodoxy, giving proto-Keynesian advice on responding to the great depression, which influenced the plan developed by Ted Theodore. He chaired the committee of Australian economists which produced a globally significant report on tariffs. He did pioneering work on estimating a national balance sheet for Australia and in other areas of economics. He should be better remembered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-96
Number of pages12
JournalHistory of Economics Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2020


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