Simon Kuznet

Simon Kuznets

Simon Smith Kuznets (April 30, 1901 – July 8/9, 1985) won the 1971 Nobel Prize in Economics “for his empirically founded interpretation of economic growth which has led to new and deepened insight into the economic and social structure and process of development.”

Kuznets is credited with revolutionizing econometrics, and this work is credited with fueling the Keynesian Revolution. His most important book is National Income and Its Composition, 1919 – 1938. Published in 1941, it is one of the most historically significant works on Gross National Product. His work on the business cycle and disequilibrium aspects of economic growth helped launch development economics.

He was born in Russia but moved to the United States in 1922 and was educated at Columbia University. He taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University and Harvard University.

Kuznets carried out research on the U.S. real-estate cycle. He identified a cycle of 16.5 to 18 years. There was some criticism that this represented waves of population and migration and, as these subsided with declining immigration, so did the wave. However, there is a rhythm in this periodicity that is seen as a response to demographic factors. Kuznets was awarded the Nobel prize for his work and the wave was subsequently named after him. Many peaks and troughs in economic activity are attributed to its effects.