Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Noncommunicating Literatures?

During the 20th century, a number of economists more or less independently developed ideas associated with input-output analysis, activity analysis, modeling the economy as a self-sustaining circular flow, and the revival of classical political economy. I think of:

  • Leonid Kantorovich: The Soviet economist who shared the 1975 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Tjalling Koopmans.
  • Wassily Leontief: Always emphasized developing an empirically operational version of these ideas.
  • Father Maurice Potron: I stumbled across two references to him. I know nothing otherwise about his work.
  • Walter Isard: Extended input-output analysis to regional economics.
  • Richard Stone: Developed the idea of a Social Accounting Matrix and conventions for national income accounting.
  • Jacob Schwartz: Criticized the mainstream economics of his time on the basis of linear economic models.
  • Piero Sraffa: Criticized the mainstream economics of his time on the basis of linear economic models.
  • John Von Neumann: A mathematician, not an economist.

I wonder how many make connections between the scholarly literature building on the work of each of these researchers. I am not at all sure anybody explicitly and consciously built on Potron or Schwartz.

  • Wassily W. Leontief (1936). Quantitative Input and Output Relations in the Economic Systems of the United States, Review of Economic Statistics, V. 18, N. 3 (Aug). pp. 105-125.
  • Walter Isard (1951) Interregional and Regional Input-Output Analysis: A Model of a Space-Economy, Review of Economics and Statistics, V. 33, No. 4 (Nov.): pp. 318-328.
  • Jacob T. Schwartz (1961). Lectures on the Mathematical Method in Analytical Economics, Gordon and Breach.
  • Piero Sraffa (1960). Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities: A Prelude to a Critique of Economic Theory, Cambridge University Press.
  • J. Ricard N. Stone (1966). The Social Accounts from a Consumer Point of View, Review of Income and Wealth, V. 12, Iss. 1 (Mar.): pp. 1-33. [I HAVEV'T READ THIS OR ANYTHING ELSE BY STONE]
  • John von Neumann (1945-1946) A Model of General Economic Equilibrium, Review of Economic Studies, V. 13, No. 1: pp. 1-9.


Anonymous said...

I am curious about Potron, both as a Jesuit and matrix studies in economics. I read french so I can read a little bit about it for you.

In exchange I would be greatly interested by your bibliographical study on IO matrices analysis in macroeconomics.

Adrien Nguyen Huu

Magpie said...

Are you interested in regional economics (perhaps in allied subjects, like transport and urban planning)?

LK said...


Offtopic, but do you have any thoughts on this:


Charles Stewart said...

I have the dim idea that Leontief and von Neumann were correspondents at one point - possibly IO analysis featured there?

Robert Vienneau said...

I see that an english translation of Potron's papers is coming out. I have read a little about regional and transport economics, but not enough to claim to have an interest.

I know nothing about Leontief and von Neumann's correspondence. Leontief came to give a guest lecture at my university in the 1980s. My economics professor taught us input-output analysis the week before, to prep us. The lecture, though, was about the unscientific nature of mainstream economics. Leontief doubtless had his work in mind as an example of empirical work, but he did not go into much in his lecture.