Table of Contents

Handbook on the History of Economic Analysis Volume I

Handbook on the History of Economic Analysis Volume I

Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert

Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz

Volume I contains original biographical profiles of many of the most important and influential economists from the seventeenth century to the present day. These inform the reader about their lives, works and impact on the further development of the discipline. The emphasis is on their lasting contributions to our understanding of the complex system known as the economy. The entries also shed light on the means and ways in which the functioning of this system can be improved and its dysfunction reduced. Each Handbook can be read individually and acts as a self-contained volume in its own right. It can be purchased separately or as part of a three-volume set.

Chapter 107: Abram Bergson [Abram Burk] (1914–2003)

Antoinette Baujard

Subjects: economics and finance, history of economic thought


Abram Bergson (21 April 1914–23 April 2003) has been famous both for welfare economics and for Soviet economics. It is worth noticing that two of his most well-known papers, published in 1936 and 1938, are authored by Burk while referred to as Bergson’s. At a time when being a Jew was not easy in Europe and being Russian was not popular in the US, his older brother Gus Burk and himself, Abram Burk, were both students in Harvard. They voluntarily decided to change their surname into Bergson in order to assert themselves as sons of Russian immigrant Jews. This is just one story about the change from Burk to Bergson as it is described by his great friend Paul A. Samuelson. The latter recalls that Abram Bergson was known as “Honest Abe” in Harvard; he describes him as very modest yet not shy, straight arrow, upright, and as “a man of the center with a personal preference toward less economic inequality” (2004: 27, 29). Abram Bergson spent his youth in Baltimore. He was married to Rita Macht Bergson, herself trained in Baltimore, with whom he had three daughters Judy, Mimi and Lucy. After an undergraduate training at Johns Hopkins University, he studied economics at the Harvard Graduate School. He started to learn the Russian language and he made a lengthy visit to Moscow in 1937. He published his Harvard PhD thesis in 1940, by which time he had already gained a wide recognition as a mathematical economist. During World...

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.

Further information