Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert
Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz
Chapter 81: Jacob Marschak (1898–1977)
Marschak was born in Kiev, Russia on 23 July 1898 and died in Los Angeles on 27 July 1977. He had one of the most adventurous biographies of an economist in the twentieth century (Arrow 1979; Hagemann 1997; Radner 1984). At the age of 19 Marschak became Secretary of Labour in a revolutionary government of the Terek Republic in the Northern Caucasus (Marschak 1971). When he died Marschak was President Elect of the American Economic Association. He was twice forced to emigrate: after the Bolshevist revolution in January 1919, and after the Nazis’ rise to power in March 1933. Marschak’s professional career extended over 58 years and across three countries: Weimar Germany (1919–33), the United Kingdom (1933–38) and the United States. He got his PhD from the University of Heidelberg in 1922. His thesis on the quantity equation (Marschak 1924b) indicated already his lifelong interest in monetary macroeconomics. Marschak later was open to an independent reception of Keynes’s theory, as reflected in his Chicago lectures Income, Employment and the Price Level (Marschak 1951), and his two outstanding PhD students, Franco Modigliani and Don Patinkin, who both made substantial contributions to modern macroeconomics. In his first major publication Marschak (1924a) critically investigates Mises’s thesis of the impossibility of economic calculation in the socialist commonwealth because there is no price formation in free markets. Marschak objects to Mises empirically that in capitalist economies with an increasing number of cartels and trusts the requirements of price formation on free markets are...
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