Wassily Leontief

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Leontief, Wassily


Born Aug. 5, 1906, in St. Petersburg. American economist.

After he graduated from Leningrad University (1925), Leontief studied in Berlin (1925–28). In 1931 he emigrated to the USA and started teaching at Harvard University. In 1948 he became director of an economic research service. Leontief worked out the “input-output” method of economic analysis, a method initially developed by Soviet economists as early as 1924–28. His method studies the specific processes involved in substituting one part of social product for another in capitalist economic sectors. The principles advanced by Leontief are used for forecasting and programming the capitalist economy. Although criticizing certain conditions of bourgeois political economy and individual failings of capitalism, Leontief in his works ignores the antagonistic contradictions of capitalist production. He received the Nobel Prize in 1973.


The Structure of the American Economy, 1919–1929. Cambridge, Mass., 1941.
Input-Output Economics. New York, 1966.