Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert
Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz
Chapter 61: Irving Fisher (1867–1947)
Life Irving Fisher was praised by Schumpeter in his obituary as America’s “greatest scientific economist” (Schumpeter 1948 : 223). Fisher was born on 27 February 1867 in Saugerties-on-Hudson, New York, as the son of a clergyman. His mother Ella Wescott descended from an old New England family. Thus Fisher grew up in a religious environment which probably contributed to the missionary zeal that characterized his personal life. He graduated from the Smith Academy, St Louis in June 1884. A few weeks later his father died because of tuberculosis, just after Fisher had been admitted to Yale College. Fisher remained closely associated with Yale for the rest of his life. With his remarkable mathematical abilities, he graduated first in his class with a BA degree in 1888. Furthermore, he published poems and political commentaries and was a successful rower. Fisher remained at Yale for graduate studies mainly in mathematics and economics but also in philosophy and the sciences. His mentor was the physicist and mathematician Josiah Willard Gibbs. In economics he got stimulus from the industrial economist and later president of Yale University, Arthur Twining Hadley, who induced him to read the works of Francis Amasa Walker, the founding president of the American Economic Association. His main influence, however, was William Graham Sumner, with whose free market and Social Darwinist views he did not agree, but who suggested that he engage more in mathematical economics and study the newly published work Investigations on the Theory of Price by the two Austrians...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.