Paul Samuelson

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Paul Anthony Samuelson (Gary, Indiana, 1915 - Belmont, Massachusetts, 2009) was an American economist of Jewish ancestry. He studied at the University of Chicago, and Harvard University (Master degree in 1936 and a Ph.D. in 1941). In 1970, he received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Samuelson was the author of Foundations of Economic Analysis (1947), and a textbook, Economics: An Introductory Analysis (1948); the last one a popular and influential book for students translated into forty-one languages and considered the best-selling economics textbook in history. He wrote also numerous pioneering articles on economic theory (Collected Scientific Papers, 5 vol., 1966 - 1986).

Samuelson was essential to creating the Neoclassical economics, as a neo-Keynesian economist founder. He used mathematical methods developed for thermodynamics to the study of economics. Samuelson considered himself an eclectic liberal. He is best known for his methods and innovations in economics, and not for his political ideas.

“There is nothing in the theory that says trade is always a win-win-win for every group”.

Samuelson’s magnum opus, which did more than any other single book to spread the mathematical revolution in economics, is Foundations of Economic Analysis. Based on his Harvard Ph.D. dissertation, this book shows how virtually all economic behavior can be understood as maximizing or minimizing subject to a constraint. [1]

Samuelson spent most of his professional life at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a professor. In 1961, Samuelson was president of the American Economic Association, and of the International Economic Association, 1965-1968.

“The work he did, with no hyperbole, revolutionized numerous fields, including public finance, international trade, and macroeconomics”, Alan Blinder.

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