Jacob Viner 101: The Economist Who Inspired
Zatrun Published at September 08, 2023

Jacob Viner 101: Who Is the Economist Who Inspires? in our article of, as our readers are curious, we will cover in detail everything you need to know about Jacob Viner, a Canadian economist who is considered one of the “inspiring” mentors of the Chicago School of Economics.

Who is Jacob Viner?

Jacob Viner, born on May 3, 1892 in Montreal, Quebec to a Romanian immigrant family in a Jewish family, was a Canadian economist who, along with Frank Knight and Henry Calvert Simons, was considered one of the “inspirational” mentors of the Chicago School of Economics in the early 1930s. He was one of the leading figures of the Chicago Faculty.

Jacob Viner

born after 1860, Paul Samuelson has been referred to as one of the few American “saints of economics”, along with Harry Gunnison Brown, Allyn Abbott Young, Henry Ludwell Moore, Frank Knight, Wesley Clair Mitchell and Henry Schultz. He received his B.A. from McGill University in 1914 and his Ph.D. (PhD) from Harvard University, where he wrote under the guidance of commercial economist F.W. Taussig. He was a very important figure in the field of political economy. Jacob Viner died on September 12, 1970 in Princeton, New Jersey.

Career Life:

In his academic career, Jacob Viner held a professorship at the University of Chicago from 1916 to 1917 and then from 1919 to 1946. He has visited Stanford and Yale Universities twice at different times, as well as the Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. in 1946, he joined Princeton University and stayed there until his retirement in 1960. he was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton from 1947 to 1948 and a permanent member of the same institute from 1950 to 1970. While at the University of Chicago, Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman studied with Viner.

Also, Jacob Viner was the Secretary of the Treasury during the administration of Franklin Roosevelt, Henry Morgenthau Jr.he was a government advisor to the. II. During World War II, he also served as a correspondent with Harvard economist Alvin Hansen in the economic and financial group of the Council on Foreign Relations’ “War and Peace Studies” project.

Contributions to the Economy:

Jacob Viner was a well-known economist who was an opponent of John Maynard Keynes during the Great Depression. Although he agreed with Keynes’s government spending policies at the time, Viner believed that Keynes’s analysis was flawed and would not be valid in the long run.

Viner is famous for his economic modeling, including the modeling of long- and short-term cost curves, which is still in use today. He also made important contributions to the theory of international trade and the history of economic thought. in 1950, he added the terms “trade creation” and “trade diversion” to the dictionary of economics. While at the University of Chicago, he served as an editor at the Journal of Political Economy with Frank Knight.

In particular, his work Studies in International Trade Theory (1937) discusses the history of economic thought and is also an important historical source for the Bullionist debate in nineteenth-century Britain. during the Atomic Energy Control Conference in 1945, Jacob Viner made a speech stating that the atomic bomb was “the cheapest way ever invented to kill people” and that atomic bombs would “establish peace”, perhaps making him the founder of the nuclear deterrent.

Selected Publications:

Jacob Viner was a prolific writer who made significant contributions to the field of economics. Some of his important works are “The Logic of the Logical Method of Political Economy” (1917), “Price Policies: Determining the Market Price” (1921), “Dumping: A Problem in International Trade” (1923) and “Canada’s International Debt Balance, 1900-1913” (1924).

Viner also published an influential article in the Journal of Political Economy entitled “Utility Concepts in Value Theory and Criticism” (1925). In another article published in the same journal in 1927, he also explored the ideas of Adam Smith and the economics of let them do it.

Viner’s joint work on quantitative economics with some other economists was published in the American Economic Review in 1928. He also published the behavior of prices in his work “Mills’ Behavior of Prices” (1929) and “Cost Curves and Supply Curves” (1931). Viner is also known for his contributions to the theory of international trade, including the development of the doctrine of comparative costs. His seminal work on the “Customs Union Problem” was also published in 1950.

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