The first American to win the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences , the Swedish Royal Academies stated, when awarding the prize in , that he "has done more than any other contemporary economist to raise the level of scientific analysis in economic theory". Parker has called him the "Father of Modern Economics ",  and The New York Times considered him to be the "foremost academic economist of the 20th century". Samuelson was likely the most influential economist of the later 20th century. He entered the University of Chicago at age 16, during the depths of the Great Depression , and received his PhD in economics from Harvard.
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The first American to win the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences , the Swedish Royal Academies stated, when awarding the prize in , that he "has done more than any other contemporary economist to raise the level of scientific analysis in economic theory". Parker has called him the "Father of Modern Economics ",  and The New York Times considered him to be the "foremost academic economist of the 20th century".
Samuelson was likely the most influential economist of the later 20th century. He entered the University of Chicago at age 16, during the depths of the Great Depression , and received his PhD in economics from Harvard.
After graduating, he became an assistant professor of economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT when he was 25 years of age and a full professor at age Solow , Franco Modigliani , Robert C.
Merton , Joseph E. Stiglitz , and Paul Krugman , all of whom went on to win Nobel Prizes. He served as an advisor to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B.
Samuelson wrote a weekly column for Newsweek magazine along with Chicago School economist Milton Friedman , where they represented opposing sides: Samuelson, as a self described "Cafeteria Keynesian",  claimed taking the Keynesian perspective but only accepting what he felt was good in it.
He then studied at the University of Chicago and received his Bachelor of Arts degree there in He said he was born as an economist, at 8.
He won the David A. Wells prize in for writing the best doctoral dissertation at Harvard University in economics, for a thesis titled "Foundations of Analytical Economics", which later turned into Foundations of Economic Analysis.
Samuelson moved to MIT as an assistant professor in and remained there until his death. Samuelson's family included many well-known economists, including brother Robert Summers , sister-in-law Anita Summers , brother-in-law Kenneth Arrow and nephew Larry Summers. Samuelson died after a brief illness on December 13, , at the age of Poterba , an economics professor at MIT and the president of the National Bureau of Economic Research , commented that Samuelson "leaves an immense legacy, as a researcher and a teacher, as one of the giants on whose shoulders every contemporary economist stands".
As professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Samuelson worked in many fields, including:. Samuelson is considered one of the founders of neo-Keynesian economics and a seminal figure in the development of neoclassical economics. More than any other contemporary economist, Samuelson has helped to raise the general analytical and methodological level in economic science. He has simply rewritten considerable parts of economic theory. He has also shown the fundamental unity of both the problems and analytical techniques in economics, partly by a systematic application of the methodology of maximization for a broad set of problems.
This means that Samuelson's contributions range over a large number of different fields. He was also essential in creating the neoclassical synthesis , which ostensibly incorporated Keynesian and neoclassical principles and still dominates current mainstream economics. In , Samuelson was one of the ten Nobel Prize—winning economists signing the Economists' statement opposing the Bush tax cuts.
Stanislaw Ulam once challenged Samuelson to name one theory in all of the social sciences that is both true and nontrivial.
Several years later, Samuelson responded with David Ricardo 's theory of comparative advantage : "That it is logically true need not be argued before a mathematician; that is not trivial is attested by the thousands of important and intelligent men who have never been able to grasp the doctrine for themselves or to believe it after it was explained to them.
For many years, Samuelson wrote a column for Newsweek. One article included Samuelson's most quoted remark and a favorite economics joke:. To prove that Wall Street is an early omen of movements still to come in GNP, commentators quote economic studies alleging that market downturns predicted four out of the last five recessions.
That is an understatement. Wall Street indexes predicted nine out of the last five recessions! And its mistakes were beauties. In the early editions of his famous, bestselling economics textbook Paul Samuelson joked that GDP falls when a man "marries his maid". Samuelson's book Foundations of Economic Analysis is considered his magnum opus. It is derived from his doctoral dissertation, and was inspired by the classical thermodynamic methods. The book showed how these goals could be parsimoniously and fruitfully achieved, using the language of the mathematics applied to diverse subfields of economics.
The book proposes two general hypotheses as sufficient for its purposes:. In the first tenet, his views presented the idea that all actors, whether firms or consumers, are striving to maximize something. They could be attempting to maximize profits, utility, or wealth, but it did not matter because their efforts to improve their well-being would provide a basic model for all actors in an economic system.
Generally in a market, supply would equal demand. However, he urged that this might not be the case and that the important thing to look at was a system's natural resting point.
Foundations presents the question of how an equilibrium would react when it is moved from its optimal point. For example, he could explain the economic effect of changes in taxes or new technologies. In the course of analysis, comparative statics , the analysis of changes in equilibrium of the system that result from a parameter change of the system is formalized and clearly stated.
The chapter on welfare economics "attempt s to give a brief but fairly complete survey of the whole field of welfare economics" Samuelson, , p. It also exposits on and develops what became commonly called the Bergson —Samuelson social welfare function. It shows how to represent in the maximization calculus all real-valued economic measures of any belief system that is required to rank consistently different feasible social configurations in an ethical sense as "better than", "worse than", or "indifferent to" each other p.
Samuelson is also author and since co-author of an influential principles textbook, Economics , first published in , now in its 19th edition.
The book has been translated into forty-one languages and sold over four million copies; it is considered the best-selling economics textbook in history. A main focus was how to avoid, or at least mitigate, the recurring slumps in economic activity. Samuelson wrote: "It is not too much to say that the widespread creation of dictatorships and the resulting World War II stemmed in no small measure from the world's failure to meet this basic economic problem [the Great Depression] adequately.
Samuelson's influential textbook has been criticized for including comparative growth rates between the United States and the Soviet Union that were inconsistent with historical GNP differences. Each subsequent edition extrapolated a date range further in the future until those graphs were dropped from the edition. In , Samuelson commented on the economics of the Soviet Union and Marxism : "Contrary to what many skeptics had earlier believed, the Soviet economy is proof that Samuelson's book was the second one that attempted to introduce to a wider audience Keynesian economics, yet by far the most successful one.
Canadian economist Lorie Tarshis , who had been a student attending Keynes's lectures at Harvard in the s, published in an introductory textbook that incorporated his Tarshis's lecture notes, titled The Elements of Economics. Buckley Jr. There are papers in Samuelson's Collected Scientific Papers. Stanley Fischer , p. Samuelson was co-editor, along with William A.
Barnett , of Inside the Economist's Mind: Conversations with Eminent Economists Blackwell Publishing, , a collection of interviews with notable economists of the 20th century. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. American economist. Gary, Indiana , US. Belmont, Massachusetts , US. Basic concepts. Fiscal Monetary Commercial Central bank. Related fields. Econometrics Economic statistics Monetary economics Development economics International economics.
Edward C. Sargent Paul Krugman N. Gregory Mankiw. See also. Macroeconomic model Publications in macroeconomics Economics Applied Microeconomics Political economy Mathematical economics. Main article: Economics textbook. Samuelson's inequality Samuelson's Iceberg transport cost model Keynesian economics New Keynesian economics Neo-Keynesian economics Neoclassical economics.
History of Economic Ideas. Samuelson dies at age 94". MIT News. Reflections on the Great Depression. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. December 13, Samuelson, Economist, Dies at 94". The New York Times. Journal of Economic Perspectives. Samuelson Years in the Stacks". Retrieved April 26, Paul Samuelson: On Being an Economist. New York: Jorge Pinto Books. May 22, Hartford Courant. Retrieved March 20, — via Newspapers. December 14, Samuelson's Move to MIT".
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