Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert
Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz
Chapter 78: Erik Lindahl (1891–1960)
Erik Lindahl was born on 21 November 1891 in Stockholm and died on 6 January 1960 in Uppsala, Sweden. He was a pioneer of the modern theory of public finance and a leading member of the “Stockholm school” of economics, which in the interwar period elaborated on Knut Wicksell’s approach to macroeconomics and monetary theory. Further members of this loosely organized group of Swedish economists were Dag Hammarskjöld, Alf Johansson, Erik Lundberg, Gunnar Myrdal, Bertil Ohlin, and Ingvar Svennilsson (see Jonung 1991). Lindahl grew up in Jönköping and then studied humanities and law, from 1910 to 1914, at the University of Lund. He was encouraged by his economics teacher, Emil Sommarin, to study carefully Knut Wicksell’s writings, which became a major source of inspiration for most of his subsequent work. He had, however, no personal contact with Wicksell until the public defence of his doctoral dissertation in 1919, when the latter acted as one of the official “challengers” (Steiger 2008). Lindahl was a docent (reader) in public finance at Lund University from 1920 to 1924, and a reader in economics and fiscal law at the University of Uppsala from 1924 to 1926. In 1926, Lindahl became responsible for the planning of an extensive empirical study on ‘Wages, Cost of Living and National Income in Sweden 1860–1930’, financed by the Rockefeller Foundation and carried out in the following decade at the Institute for Social Sciences at Stockholm University. Thereafter, he held professorial positions at the Gothenburg School...
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