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 MaynardKeynes, John Maynard, Baron Keynes of Tilton
, 1883–1946, English economist and monetary expert, studied at Eton and Cambridge. Early Career and Critique of Versailles
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). 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.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Samuelson, Paul Anthony


Born May 15, 1915, in Gary, Ind. American economist.

Samuelson was educated at Hyde Park High School in Chicago and at the University of Chicago and Harvard University. Since 1940 he has taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has been a professor of economics there since 1966. Since 1941 he has also served as a consultant and adviser to various governmental institutions; from 1961 to 1968 he was an adviser to the White House on economic affairs. Samuelson is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Economic Association, the International Economic Association, and the Econometric Society. He is the author of the most widely used textbook on political economy in the capitalist world, Economics: An Introductory Analysis (1951; Russian translation, 1964).

Samuelson’s theoretical views are eclectic. He attempts to unite the various schools and trends in vulgar political economy on the basis of what he calls a “neoclassical synthesis,” which essentially consists of a distinctive combination of the modern bourgeois apologetic theory of income distribution with the vulgar but, in his terminology, “classical” principles characteristic of the subjective school of political economy. In theoretical research in economics, Samuelson favors a broad application of the mathematical method.

An advocate of the mixed economy theory, Samuelson favors an active role for bourgeois government in economic life. In substantiating the need for deeper governmental intervention in the economy, Samuelson advances arguments that, contrary to his intention, are in essence an acknowledgment of the insolubility of the contradictions in the capitalist system.

Samuelson received the Nobel Prize in economic science in 1970.


Foundations of Economic Analysis. New York, 1947.
Linear Programming and Economic Analysis. New York, 1958. (Coauthor.)
Problems of the American Economy. [London] 1962.
Stability and Growth in the American Economy. Stockholm, 1963.
The Collected Scientific Papers, vols. 1–3. London, 1966–72.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Samuelson, Paul Anthony, Foundations of Economic Analysis (New York: Atheneum, 1974).