Paul A. Samuelson

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Paul A. Samuelson (1997)

Paul Anthony Samuelson (* 15. May 1915 in Gary , Indiana ; † 13. December 2009 in Belmont , Massachusetts ) was an American economist and winner of the Prize in Economics Bank of Sweden in memory of Alfred Nobel of 1970 . He was a member of the Democrats as well as of Jewish descent.



Paul A. Samuelson completed his first training at the University of Chicago ( Bachelor of Arts 1935, Master of Arts 1936). He received his doctorate degree from Harvard University in 1941 .

He was a student of Paul Sweezy and Joseph Schumpeter .


He has mainly taught at MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology .

He advised the US politician Adlai Ewing Stevenson , among others . Despite a request, he declined an offer from John F. Kennedy to become part of the government team on the grounds that he did not want to take on a position in which he could no longer say and write what he wanted and believed to be scientifically correct. At times he was a permanent advisor to the US Treasury and an advisor to the US Federal Reserve .

He caused a sensation in 2004 when he called for political measures to slow down the pace of globalization .


In 1942 Samuelson was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences .

In 1961, Samuelson served as president-elect of the American Economic Association .

Since 1958 he was a member of the American Philosophical Society , since 1960 of the British Academy and since 1970 of the National Academy of Sciences .


Samuelson has done extensive research in many areas of theoretical economics. Therefore, a number of economic theorems or effects are associated with his name, in particular the Stolper-Samuelson theorem , the Bergson-Samuelson welfare function , the Lerner-Samuelson theorem , the Balassa-Samuelson effect and the Samuelson-Musgrave condition .

“Do I really believe what I have been saying? I would like to believe otherwise. But a respect for evidence compels me to incline toward the hypothesis that most portfolio decisionmakers should go out of business, take up plumbing, teach Greek, or help produce the annual GNP by serving as corporate executives. Even if this advice to drop dead is good advice, it obviously is not counsel that will be eagerly followed. "

“Do I really believe what I said? I would like to believe otherwise. But my respect for scientific evidence compels me to hypothesize that most portfolio managers should get out of business and start plumbing, teaching Greek, or doing their part in increasing annual GNP as senior executives. But even if the advice of dropping dead is a good one, obviously it is not one that will be eagerly followed. "

By integrating mathematical and statistical methods, Samuelson contributed significantly to the scientific recognition of economics . His work Economics: An Introductory Analysis , published in 1948 , was one of the most widely used economics textbooks. The New York Times wrote that he had the national economy , "transformed from a discipline that ponders economic questions about a discipline that solves problems and answers questions about cause and effect with mathematical rigor and clarity."

In 1970, Samuelson became the first American to receive the Swedish Reichsbank's Economics Prize. The reason for the award of the prize stated, among other things:

“Samuelson's contribution is that, more than any other contemporary economist, he has developed the general analytical and methodological level of economics. The fact is that he rewrote large parts of economic theory. He also demonstrated the fundamental unity of problem formulation and analytical techniques in economics. [...] Samuelson's contributions cover a huge range. "

Publications (selection)

  • Economics . 19th edition, 2009. ISBN 978-0-07-126383-2 (English)
  • Foundations of Economic Analysis , 2nd Ed., 1982.
  • "Interactions between the Multiplier Analysis and the Principle of Acceleration." In Review of Economics and Statistics , pp. 75-78, Mee 1939.
  • "International Trade and the Equalization of Factor Prices." In Economic Journal , No. 58, June 1948, pp. 163-84.
  • Samuelson P.-A., Dorfman Robert, Solow Robert: Linear Programming and Economic Activity , 1958.
  • “A Note on the Pure Theory of Consumers' Behavior.” In Economica NS , No. 5, February 1938, pp. 61-71.
  • "The Pure Theory of Public Expenditure." In Review of Economics and Statistics , November 1954, pp. 387-389

Web links

Commons : Paul Samuelson  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Paul A. Samuelson, Economist, Dies at 94 , New York Times, December 14, 2009
  2. The Economist of the Century , Süddeutsche Zeitung, December 14, 2009
  3. Book of Members 1780 – present, Chapter S. (PDF; 1.4 MB) In: American Academy of Arts and Sciences ( Retrieved March 17, 2018 .
  4. ^ Past and Present Officers. ( American Economic Association ), accessed October 29, 2015 .
  5. ^ Member History: Paul A. Samuelson. American Philosophical Society, accessed December 23, 2018 (with biographical notes).
  6. ^ Samuelson, Paul A .: Challenge to judgment . In: Journal of Portfolio Management . tape 1 , no. 1 , 1974, p. 17-19 , doi : 10.3905 / jpm.1974.408496 .