Who's Who

(For more detail on most of these entries, see the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics website at http://www.econlib.org/library/CEEBiographies.html/)

Bastiat, Frederic. 1801-1850. French pamphleteer who popularized economic ideas with superb satires, several of which are still read for amusement and profit today.

Becker, Gary. b. 1930. One of the many prominent economists associated with the University of Chicago, Becker won the Nobel Prize in economics for his applications of economic methods to a variety of novel situations.

Boulding, Kenneth. b. 1910. This British born economist taught for many years at the University of Michigan and then at the University of Colorado.

Buchanan, James. b. 1919. A founder of a branch of economics called Public-Choice economics, Buchanan won a Nobel prize for his contributions to economics in 1986.

Carlyle, Thomas. 1795-1881. A British writer whose only contribution to economics was the term, "dismal science."

Coase, Ronald. b. 1910. Coase published relatively little, but what he did publish had tremendous impact. Though part of the Chicago school of economics, his most influentional writings, on the nature of the firm and on externalities, focus on tranactions costs as a force preventing market solutions to problems.

Fischer, Irving. 1867-1947. An amazingly prolific writer on a wide range of topics, Fisher may have been the most important American-born economists during the first half of the twentieth century. A professor at Yale University, he made contributions in many areas of economics, including monetary theory, mathematical economics, index numbers, and the theory of interest. Among the reform movements he championed were prohibition of alcohol and eugenics.

Friedman, Milton. 1912-2006. One of the most important economists of the twentieth century, Friedman is noted for his studies of monetary history, his development of the permanent income hypothesis, and his argument that most intellectuals overvalue political processes and underestimate the importance of market processes in a free and prosperous society. Friedman won the Nobel Prize in economics in 1976.

Hayek, Friedrich. 1899-1992. Austrian borne economist who taught both in England and the United States, Hayek won the Nobel Prize for economics in 1974. He opposed most government interventions into the economy. He is perhaps best knows for his early recognition that markets have the ability to coordinate widely dispersed information.

Hicks, John. 1904-1989. This British economist is best known for his development of the IS-LM model of macroeconomics.

Hobbes, Thomas. 1588-1679. In his Leviathon (1651) Hobbes raised the question of how selfish men could form a harmonious society. Hobbes' answer, that an all-powerful sovereign was needed, satisfied few, but the issues he raised influenced many. Hobbes himself was influenced by the scientific views of Galileo and the turmoil of the English Civil War.

Hume. David. 1711-1776. A Scottish philosopher best known for his skepticism.

Jevons, W. Stanley. 1835-1882 An economist who was part of the "Marginalist Revolution" in the late nineteenth century.

Keynes, John Maynard. 1883-1946. The author of the General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (1936), the ideas of this British economist have dominated the approach to macroeconomics for most of the twentieth century.

Knight, Frank. 1885-1972. Knight taught at the University of Chicago from 1928 until 1958, helping to give the economics department at that institution its special flavor.

Locke, John. 1632-1704. Locke was an English philosopher and political theorist whose work had wide influence. His most important political work was Two Treatises on Government (1689).

Machiavelli, Niccolo. 1469-1527. A Florentine politician who wrote The Prince (1532), a guide to getting and using power, after falling out of favor with the ruler of Florence.

Malthus, Thomas. 1766-1834. An English economist who is remembered for his theory of population, published originally in 1798 as Essay on The Principle of Population.

Marshall, Alfred. 1842-1924. The most influential economist at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century, his textbook was the standard for several generations of students. Marshall taught at Cambridge University in England from 1885 until 1908.

Marx, Karl. 1818-1883. A German social philosopher whose writings have had enormous influence on the theory and practice of socialism. His Communist Manifesto (1848) was a call to action, while his Das Kapital, unfinished at his death, contains his theoretical structure.

Mill, John Stuart. 1806-1873. The son of James Mill (1773-1836) who was also an influential writer in economics, John Stuart Mill's most important work in economics was Principles of Political Economy (1848).

Modigliani, Franco. 1918-2003. Though born in Italy, Modigliani has spent most of his professional career teaching in American universities. He won the Nobel Prize in economics in 1985 for several important contributions to the field, one of which was the life-cycle hypothesis of consumption.

More, Sir Thomas. 1477?-1535. This English author, statesman, and scholar was beheaded by King Henry VIII for refusing to accept the king as head of the English Church.

Okun, Arthur. 1928-1980. An American economist who came to prominance as a member and then chair of the Council of Economic Advisors during the Kennedy and Johnson Adminstrations during the 1960s. Okun's Law is named after him. It is a statistical regularity that says a 1% reduction in unemployment yields a 3% increase in real GDP.

Pareto, Vilfredo. 1848-1923. An Italian economist and sociologist.

Phelps, Edmund.

Popper, Karl. 1902-1994. An Austrian-born philosopher whose writings on the methods of science have been influential.

Rawls, John. Rawls is not an economist, but rather a philosopher whose writing on justice, based on a social contract model, have influenced many economists.

Ricardo, David. 1772-1823. Ricardo was the most influential economist in the generation after Adam Smith. His principle work was The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (1817). He made important contributions in the understanding of foreign trade, but his theory of value sent economics down a blind alley that was not abandoned until the 1870s.

Robbins, Lionell. 1898-1984. A British economist prominant between World War I and II.

Say, Jean Baptiste. 1767-1832. This French economist spread the message of Adam Smith in France.

Schumpeter, Joseph. 1883-1950. This Austrian-born economists was one of the giants among economists in the first half of the twentieth century. Schumpeter emphasized the dynamic nature of market economies.

Skinner, B. F. 1904-1990. A psychologist who emphasized the importance of conditioning or environmental stimulus as a determinant of how we act. Walden Two (1948) presents his view of utopia.

Smith, Adam. 1723-1790. A Scottish intellectual whose most important work was The Wealth of Nations in 1776. Smith is often called the father of economics.

Stigler, George. 1911-1991. This Nobel Prize winner of 1982 was one of the mainstays of the Chicago school of economics. His work was in several fields of microeconomics.

Stiglitz, Joseph. b. 1943. Stiglitz is well known for his work in analysing markets where price determines quality rather than the reverse.

Thornton, Henry. 1760-1815. A banker, philanthropist, and member of Parliament, Thornton's is now only remembered for as author of An Enquiry Into the Nature and Effects of the Paper Credit of Great Britain (1802), which many economists consider the most insightful work on monetary theory written prior to the late nineteenth century.

Walras, Leon. (1834-1910). One of the first mathematical economists, a man who formally developed the theory of general equilibrium.

Wicksell, Knut. 1851-1926. Wicksell was a Swedish economist who wrote at the turn of the century and had a profound influence on the Swedish economists who came after him. His work only gradually was recognized in the English-speaking world for its orginality and depth. He made important contributions to the literature on business cycles and capital theory.

(For more detail on most of these entries, see the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics website at http://www.econlib.org/library/CEEBiographies.html/)

All the material in these pages is copyright by Robert Schenk 1997 and various earlier dates. It may not be printed and distributed without the author's express written permission. Send him any comments, suggestions, bug reports, etc.