DEVONS, ELY (1913–1967), British economist. Born in Wales and educated at Manchester University, Devons worked for the Joint Cotton Trades Organization from 1935 to 1940 when he was appointed to the cabinet's statistical office and subsequently to the economic office of the Ministry of Aircraft Production. In 1945 he returned to his native Manchester, where he held a chair until 1959 when he became professor of commerce (later economics) at the London School of Economics. His main fields were statistics, applied economics, and public policy. He questioned accepted economic theories and, because of his interest in public policy, was skeptical of the ability of governments to control and direct economic performance. His publications include Planning in Practice (1950), An Introduction to British Economic Statistics (1956), Essays in Economics (1961), and Closed Systems and Open Minds (1964), which he edited (with Max Gluckman).
[Joachim O. Ronall]