Simon Kuznets

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Kuznets, Simon


Born Apr. 30, 1901, in Kharkov. American economist, doctor of economics (1926).

Kuznets graduated from Columbia University in 1923 and since 1930 has taught in a number of American universities. In 1960 he became a professor of economics at Harvard University. His statistical research contains extensive material describing the dynamics of the investment volume, the sectorial and technological structure of capital investments, the change in the capitalintensiveness of production, and the evolution of the capital accumulation rates in the United States and other capitalist countries over the last 100 years. The method he proposed for calculating national product, national income, and other indexes is used in the official reporting of the United States and a number of other capitalist countries.

Kuznets believes that the volume and distribution of investments and the level of the ratio between consumption and income are the basic factors in economic development. However, in stressing quantitative changes in the sphere of functioning capital, he overlooks the social factors that affect accumulation. Relying on specially selected data on the distribution of national income, Kuznets has endeavored to provide a statistical basis for the “revolution in income” that purportedly is occurring under modern capitalism in favor of the “lower” groups of the population. Kuznets’ definition of national income as the total of all income received within a year is invalid: because it includes all the secondary income of the nonproduction sphere, it overstates the amount of newly created value. He received the Nobel Prize for economics in 1971.


Cyclical Fluctuations. New York, 1926.
National Income and Capital Formation. New York, 1937.
Shares of Upper Income Groups in Income and Savings. New York, 1953.
Postwar Economic Growth. Cambridge (Mass.), 1964.
Economic Growth and Structure. New York, 1965.
Economic Growth of Nations: Total Output and Production Structure. Cambridge (Mass.), 1971.