Robert Solow

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Robert Solow <tr><td colspan="2" style="text-align: center;">Image:Solow fed.jpg
Photo: Minneapolis Fed, 2002</td></tr>
Born August 23, 1924
New York

<tr><th>Residence</th><td>USA Image:Flag of the United States.svg</td></tr><tr><th>Nationality</th><td>US Image:Flag of the United States.svg</td></tr><tr><th>Field</th><td>Economics</td></tr><tr><th>Institution</th><td>MIT</td></tr><tr><th>Alma Mater</th><td>Harvard University</td></tr><tr><th>Academic Advisor</th><td>Wassily Leontief</td></tr><tr><th>Notable Students</th><td>George Akerlof</br>Ben Bernanke</br>Robert J. Gordon
Joseph Stiglitz</td></tr><tr><th>Known for</th><td>Neo-classical growth model</td></tr><tr><th>Notable Prizes</th><td>John Bates Clark Medal (1961)</br>Nobel Memorial Prize (1987)</td></tr>

Robert Merton Solow (born August 23, 1924) is an American economist particularly known for his work on the theory of economic growth. He was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal (in 1961) and the 1987 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics.


[edit] Biography

Robert Solow was born in Brooklyn, New York on August 23, 1924, the oldest of three children. He was well educated in the neighborhood public schools of New York City and excelled academically early in life.

In September 1940, Solow went to the Harvard College with a scholarship. At Harvard, his first studies were in sociology and anthropology as well as elementary economics.

By the end of 1942, Solow left the university and joined the U.S. Army. He served briefly in North Africa and Sicily, and later served in Italy during World War II until he was discharged in August 1945.

He returned to Harvard in 1945, and studied under Wassily Leontief. As his research assistant he produced the first set of capital-coefficients for the input-output model. Then he became interested in statistics and probability models. From 1949-50, he spent a fellowship year at Columbia University to study statistics more intensively. During that year he was also working on his Ph.D. thesis, an exploratory attempt to model changes in the size distribution of wage income using interacting Markov processes for employment-unemployment and wage rates.

In 1949, just before going off to Columbia he was offered and accepted an Assistant Professorship in the Economics Department at "Massachusetts Institute of Technology". At M.I.T. he taught courses in statistics and econometrics. Solow’s interest gradually changed to Macroeconomics. For almost 40 years, Solow and Paul Samuelson worked together on many landmark theories: von Neumann growth theory (1953), capital theory (1956), linear programming (1958) and the Phillips Curve (1960).

Solow also held several government positions, including senior economist for the Council of Economic Advisers (1961–62) and member of the President’s Commission on Income Maintenance (1968–70). His studies focused mainly in the fields of employment and growth policies, and the theory of capital.

In 1961 he won the American Economic Association's John Bates Clark Award, given to the best economist under age forty. In 1979 he was president of that association.

In 1987, Robert Solow won the Nobel Prize for his analysis of economic growth.

In 1999, he received National Medal of Science.

[edit] Economic Contribution

Solow's model of economic growth, often known as the neo-classical growth model, allows the determinants of economic growth to be separated out into increases in inputs (labour and capital) and technical progress. Using his model, Solow calculated that about four-fifths of the growth in US output per worker was attributable to technical progress.

Since Solow's initial work in the 1950s, many more sophisticated models of economic growth have been proposed, leading to varying conclusions about the causes of economic growth. In the 1980s efforts have focused on the role of technological progress in the economy, leading to the development of endogenous growth theory (or new growth theory).

He is currently an emeritus professor in the MIT economics department, and previously taught at Columbia University.

[edit] Quotations

  • "Everything reminds Milton Friedman of the money supply. Everything reminds me of sex, but I try to keep it out of my papers."
  • "You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics."
  • "Over the long term, places with strong, distinctive identities are more likely to prosper than places without them. Every place must identify its strongest most distinctive features and develop them or run the risk of being all things to all persons and nothing special to any...Livability is not a middle-class luxury. It is an economic imperative."
  • "If it is very easy to substitute other factors for natural resources, then there is, in principle, no problem. The world can, in effect, get along without natural resources."

[edit] Selected Works

"A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth." Quarterly Journal of Economics 70 (February 1956): 65-94.

"Technical Change and the Aggregate Production Function." Review of Economics and Statistics 39 (August 1957): 312-20.

Linear Programming and Economic Analysis 1958. New York: McGraw-Hill. (With Robert Dorfman and Paul Samuelson.)

"The New Industrial State or Son of Affluence." The Public Interest (Fall 1967): 108. Capital Theory and the Rate of Return. 1963.

"The Economics of Resources or the Resources of Economics" The American Economic Review vol.64 (1974): 1-14.

[edit] See also

[edit] External references

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Robert Solow

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