Before NBER: Warren Nutter's Soviet Research at the CIA
42 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2020 Last revised: 3 Jun 2021
Date Written: July 12, 2020
Warren Nutter’s work as director of the National Bureau of Economic Research’s (NBER’s) Soviet growth project is his best-known contribution to economics and public affairs. Many histories of Sovietology note the oddity of Nutter’s selection as project director, given his apparent lack of prior experience studying the Soviet Union. This paper provides new context for Nutter’s selection to lead the NBER effort. From 1951 to 1952 Warren Nutter was the Acting Chief of the Economic Capabilities Branch of the CIA’s Office of Research and Reports (ORR), and Chairman of the Economic Analysis Subcommittee of the inter-agency Economic Intelligence Committee. In this capacity he managed at least three major research efforts, including an input-output analysis of the Soviet Union and contributions to two national intelligence estimates. Nutter may have been proposed as a director of the NBER project by Robert Amory, the Deputy Director of Intelligence, in 1953. Nutter’s research for the CIA cultivated new analytic capacities for the agency and provided a foundation for Nutter’s future work on the Soviet Union.
Keywords: Warren Nutter, Soviet Union, History of Economics, Index Numbers, Leontief, National Bureau of Economic Research
JEL Classification: B20, B31, P50, H56, D57
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation