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Paul Samuelson

Paul A. Samuelson (born May 15, 1915) is an American economist known for his work in many fields of economics. He was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal in 1947 and The Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences: Nobel Prize in Economics in 1970.

He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago in 1935 and a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1941.

As professor of economics at MIT - the Massachusetts Institute of Technology - he has worked in fields including:

  • Welfare economics, in which he popularised the Lindahl-Bowen-Samuelson conditions which are criteria for deciding whether an action will improve welfare;
  • Public finance theory, in which he is particularly known for his work on determining the optimal allocation of resources in the presence of both public goods and private goods.
  • International economics, where he influenced the development of two important international trade models: the Balassa-Samuelson effect, and the Heckscher-Ohlin model (with the Stolper-Samuelson theorem).
  • Monetary economics, where he devised the overlapping generations model as a way to analyze economic agents' behavior across multiple periods of time.

He was also the author of an influential economics textbook, Economics, first published in 1948, and revised regularly for the following fifty years.
Stanislaw Ulam once challenged Samuelson to name one theory in all of the social sciences which is both true and nontrivial. Several years later, Samuelson responded with David Ricardo's theory of Comparative advantage.

Along with Kenneth Arrow, he is considered one of the founders of modern neoclassical economics. The following is an excerpt from the reasons for awarding Samuelson the Nobel Prize:

Generally speaking, Samuelson's contribution has been that, more than any other contemporary economist, he has contributed to raising 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.










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