Samuelsonian Economics and the Twenty-First Century

Samuelsonian Economics and the Twenty-First Century

Samuelsonian Economics and the Twenty-First Century

Samuelsonian Economics and the Twenty-First Century


Introduction Ten Ways to Know Paul A. Samuelson Analysis of Samuelson's Specific Contribution Overlapping Generation Models 1. Overlapping Generations, Robert M. Solow 2. Paul Samuelson's Amazing Intergenerational Transfer, Laurence J. Kotlikoff 3. Social Security, the Government, and National Savings, Peter Diamond Public Goods 4. Paul Samuelson and Global Public Goods, William D. Nordhaus Preference and Consumer Behavior 5. Revealed Preference, Hal R. Varian 6. Samuelson's "Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Jekyll" Problem: A Difficulty in the Concept of the Consumer, Robert A. Pollak Marx 7. Paul Samuelson on Karl Marx: Were the Sacrificed Games of Tennis Worth It?, Geoff Harcourt Stability 8. Paul Samuelson and the Stability of the General Equilibrium, Franklin Fisher Keynes & Post-Keynesians 9. Paul Samuelson and Piero Sraffa- Two Prodigious Minds at the Opposite Poles, Luigi Pasinetti 10. Paul Samuelson as a "Keynesian" Economist, Lawrence R. Klein 11. Samuelson and the Keynesian/Post-Keynesian Revolution, Paul Davidson International Economics and Finance 12. Paul Samuelson and International Trade Theory Over Eight Decades, Avinash Dixit 13. Paul Samuelson's Contributions to International Economics, Kenneth Rogoff 14. Protection and Real Wages: The Stopler-Samuelson Theorem, Rachel McCulloh Finance and Portfolio Theory 15. Samuelson and the Factor Bias of Technology Change, Joseph E. Stiglitz 16. Samuelson and Investment for the Long Run, Harry M. Marowitz 17. Paul Samuelson and Financial Economics, Robert C. Merton Samuelson's Relevance Relevance to Mathematical Economics 18. Multipliers and the LeChatelier Principle, Paul Milgrom Relevance to the Natural Sciences 19. The Surprising Ubiquity of the Samuelson Configuration, James B. Cooper and Thomas Russell 20. Paul Samuelson's Mach, Rod Cross


Kenneth J. Arrow

I first encountered the work of Paul Samuelson during my graduate studies (1940-42) when my interests were changing from statistics and mathematics to economics. My mentor, Harold Hotelling, who was President of the Econometric Society, informed me that I had to join the society (at a student rate), and so I started reading Econometrica (Those early issues have a remarkably high fraction of papers that still resonate.) There I encountered several papers by Paul, particularly those defining and applying the concept of stability of economic equilibrium.

I was largely an autodidact when it came to economics, and, of course, having the skills and inclinations I did, economics to me meant economic theory using the tools of mathematics. Like Paul, I had profited greatly by happening on J. R. Hicks’s Value and Capital. This work gave, like no other since Walras, an overview of the economic system, including, most importantly, its time dimension. For me, at least, it provided a map of the economic system into which individual issues would find their place. But it did not provide many specific results. My teacher, Hotelling, was primarily interested in statistics. His few papers on economics did deal deeply with a very limited range of special issues (the economic meaning of depreciation, nonrenewable resources, and spatial competition, most notably). Curiously, his own course dealt only with the theories of the consumer and the firm, the former one of several rediscoveries of Slutzky’s ignored classic. (Considering its place of publication, an Italian actuarial journal, it is surprising that it was ever found before the modern technologies of retrieval.)

Paul’s work combined breadth and intensity. On the one hand, his structures were grounded in a very wide knowledge of the nature of mathematical systems used to describe natural phenomena. On the other, he studied individual questions in economics, sometimes at a very detailed level.

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