Paul A. Samuelson (born May 15, 1915) is an
American economist known for his work in many fields of
economics. He was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal in
1947 and The Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences:
Nobel Prize in Economics in 1970.
He earned a bachelor's degree from the University
of Chicago in 1935 and a Ph.D. from Harvard University
As professor of economics at MIT - the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology - he has worked in fields including:
- Welfare economics, in which he popularised
the Lindahl-Bowen-Samuelson conditions which are criteria
for deciding whether an action will improve welfare;
- Public finance theory, in which he
is particularly known for his work on determining the
optimal allocation of resources in the presence of both
public goods and private goods.
- International economics, where he influenced
the development of two important international trade models:
the Balassa-Samuelson effect, and the Heckscher-Ohlin
model (with the Stolper-Samuelson theorem).
- Monetary economics, where he devised
the overlapping generations model as a way to analyze
economic agents' behavior across multiple periods of time.
He was also the author of an influential economics
textbook, Economics, first published in 1948, and revised
regularly for the following fifty years.
Stanislaw Ulam once challenged Samuelson to name one theory
in all of the social sciences which is both true and nontrivial.
Several years later, Samuelson responded with David Ricardo's
theory of Comparative advantage.
Along with Kenneth Arrow, he is considered
one of the founders of modern neoclassical economics. The
following is an excerpt from the reasons for awarding Samuelson
the Nobel Prize:
Generally speaking, Samuelson's contribution
has been that, more than any other contemporary economist,
he has contributed to raising the general analytical and
methodological level in economic science. He has simply
rewritten considerable parts of economic theory. He has
also shown the fundamental unity of both the problems
and analytical techniques in economics, partly by a systematic
application of the methodology of maximization for a broad
set of problems. This means that Samuelson's contributions
range over a large number of different fields.