Samuelson, Paul A. (Paul Anthony)
US economist. His major works include Foundations of Economic Analysis (1947) and Economics (1948). In 1970 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics for contributions to every branch of economics.
Samuelson's brilliant doctoral dissertation at Harvard University, Foundations of Economic Analysis, completed in 1941 but not published until 1947, was a milestone in the conversion of modern economists to the view that all economic behaviour can be fruitfully studied as the solution to a maximization problem explicitly or implicitly employing the mathematics of differential and integral calculus. As if that were not enough, his elementary textbook Economics was a major factor in the Keynesian conquest of economics departments in the years after World War II. In the same way, Linear Programming and Economic Activity (1958; with R Dorfman and R Solow) played a significant role in disseminating the new wartime techniques of mathematical optimization, which had grown up alongside Keynesian economics.
Samuelson was born in Gary, Indiana. He was admitted to the University of Chicago at the age of 16 and took his master's degree at Harvard University before he was 20. At the age of 26 he received his PhD for a thesis that won him Harvard's David A Wells Award, and became an instructor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Six years later he was made a full professor at MIT where he remained until his retirement in 1986.
He won the first John Bates Clark Award from the American Economic Association (for the most distinguished work by an economist under the age of 40) in 1947, was president of the Econometric Society in 1953, the American Economic Association in 1961, the International Economic Association from 1965 to 1968, and received the Albert Einstein Medal in 1970. He has served as adviser to many government agencies, including the War Production Board, the Treasury, the Council of Economic Advisers, the Bureau of the Budget, and the Federal Reserve System. He also advised President Kennedy and was the author of the 1961 Task Force Report to President Kennedy, State of the American Economy. His other works include Collected Scientific Papers (1966, 1972, 1977, 1983).
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