Modigliani, Franco,1918–2003, American economist, b. Rome. Jewish, antifascist, and trained as a lawyer, he fled Mussolini's Italy in 1938, settling in the United States in 1939, where he studied economics. After teaching at various universities, he became a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1962 (emeritus in 1988), Modigliani won the 1985 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his pioneering work in economic theory. He developed a life-cycle theory about the fluctuations in personal savings over an individual's lifetime, which states that people save to spend their money during retirement. He also demonstrated that corporate debt had less affect on how investors value a company than did the company's profitability, and helped devise an economic forecasting model used by the Federal Reserve Bank.
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Modigliani, Franco(1918– ) economist; born in Rome, Italy. He emigrated to the U.S.A. after receiving a degree from the University of Rome in 1939. He taught at several universities before moving to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1962. In the early 1950s, he originated the "lifecycle hypothesis" which provided a microeconomic foundation in individual behavior for patterns of national savings. With Merton Miller, he established the "Modigliani-Miller theorems," which applied economic theory to the field of finance. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics (1985).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.