Simon Kuznets: Cautious Empiricist of the Eastern European Jewish Diaspora
E. Glen Weyl
Microsoft Research New England; University of Chicago
February 11, 2010
Simon Kuznets, Eastern European Jewish immigrant and Nobel laureate, typified data-driven caution of the discipline of empirical economics he helped found. Yet a motive force behind his path-breaking development economics of inequality, culture, institutions, demographics and human capital was a desire to understand his past and people. This connection, hidden in his relationship to mainstream economics, manifests itself in his less-known work on Jewish history and economics. The subtle synergy of Kuznets’s motivation and methodology parallels a broader paradox of how, in the twentieth century, Jews of Eastern European descent transformed one of the most informal and anti-Semitic American sciences.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 41
Keywords: Simon Kuznets, history and economics of the Jews, history of economic thought, development economics, human capital
JEL Classification: B22, B25, B31
Date posted: January 8, 2009 ; Last revised: September 5, 2012
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