Roy G.D. Allen

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Roy G.D. Allen
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Roy George Douglas Allen was born on 3 June 1906 at Stoke-on-Trent (Staffordshire, England) and died on 29 September 1983 at Southwold (Suffolk, England); a British economist, mathematician, and statistician. In his works he described issues of the theory of value, consumer behavior and usability[1]. He collaborated with other famous economists like John Richard Hicks and A.L. Bowley. Allen was a member of the International Statistical Institute.


He attend the Royal Grammar School Worcester. Then he won a scholarship to Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. He studied at the University of Cambridge. Allen cooperated with the London School of Economics (LSE). At first, he was an assistant, then a lecturer there. In 1944 he became a professor of statistics. Finally, in 1973 he became an emeritus professor[2]. He also was a treasurer of the British Academy.

Publicationsons (selection)

Allen gained notoriety in 1934 by publication in the magazine "Economica" in which he described the origin of the demand function, utility maximization and the substitution effect ("Slutsky Equation"), Thus launching the revival of neoclassical economics. He wrote many papers and books which mixed issues of mathematics and economics domain. In his book 1938 he passed mathematical knowledge for future generations, describing several innovative concepts, such as: partial elasticity of substitution[3].

Major works of Roy G.D. Allen:


Roy G.D. Allen is mainly famous for his famous book (1938), which set down the mathematical down for the next generation, introduced several novel concepts, such as the "partial elasticity of substitution". He cooperated with very famous economist Hicks John Richard. „Hicks and Allen defining the elasticity of substitution as the reciprocal of the degree to which the substitutability of two factors, that is the marginal rate of substitution, varies as the ratio of the two inputs varies and output is held constant.”[4]. In one of their many confusing changes of definitions and nomenclature, Hicks and Allen renamed this “elasticity of complementarity” as the “partial elasticity of substitution”. Roy G.D. Allen proposed a different measure. „The Allen elasticity of substitution is the traditional measure and has been employed to measure substitution behavior (with utility held constant) and structural instability in a variety of contexts.”[5].


  1. Stone J. R. N., (2008), p.122-123
  2. Stone J. R. N., (2008), p.122-123
  3. Stone J. R. N., (2008), p.123
  4. Stern D., (2008), p.2-4
  5. Slottje D., (2009), p.11


Author: Natalia Zajko