Samuelson, Paul Anthony

Samuelson, Paul Anthony, 1915–2009, American economist, b. Gary, Ind., grad. Univ. of Chicago (B.A., 1935), Harvard (M.A., 1936; Ph.D., 1941). Appointed a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1941, he later (1966) became institute professor, the highest professorial rank at the school. A liberal and a supporter of applied Keynesian economics, Samuelson held a variety of governmental positions. He was a consultant to the National Resources Planning Board (1941–43) and the U.S. Treasury (1945–52). As an adviser to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, he helped shape tax legislation and antipoverty efforts in the 1960s; he also tutored other American and world leaders in liberal economic principles. In 1970, Samuelson was the first American to receive the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, awarded on behalf of his efforts to “raise the level of scientific analysis in economic theory.” His contributions to the systematization of economic theory's underlying mathematical structure are probably unequaled by any other 20th-century economist, and he developed a large number of groundbreaking theorems that contributed enormously to contemporary economic thought and practice. His introductory textbook, Economics (18th ed. 2005), now coauthored with W. Nordhaus, is a standard work in its field; it has introduced generations of students to Keynsian economics (see Keynes, John Maynard). Originally published in 1948, it has been widely translated. His other writings include Foundations of Economic Analysis (1947, enl. ed. 1983), Collected Scientific Papers (3 vol., 1966), and numerous articles in Newsweek magazine, to which he was a longtime contributing editor and columnist.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Economics: Biographies