Chapter 4: Moses Abramovitz
When the discussion turns to the pioneers of the literature on post-war economic growth, three names come immediately to mind: Simon Kuznets, Robert Solow, and Moses Abramovitz. Professor Abramovitz’s contributions to this literature are substantive and include recent articles such as “Convergence and Deferred Catch Up” (1 996), “The Search for the Sources of Growth: Areas of Ignorance, Old and New” (1993), “Catching Up, Forging Ahead and Falling Behind” (1986), and the book Thinking About Growth and Other Essays in Economic Growth and Welfare (1 989). Abramovitz’s contributions to the literature on the Great Depression focused on the hypothesis that downturns and depressions were a natural consequence of long swings in economic activity. Moreover, given the international nature of the Depression and the commitment to the gold standard, the Federal Reserve was virtually powerless to prevent the slide in the money stock that took place during this time. His two papers on this topic “Determinants of Nominal-Income and Money-Stock Growth and the Level of the Balance of Payments: Two-Country Models under a Specie Standard” and “The Monetary Side of Long Swings in U.S. Economic Growth” were never published. I was aware of them and rather than let them fade away forever, I wanted Professor Abramovitz to talk about his ideas contained in these papers, among other topics. Professor Abramovitz received his A.B. from Harvard in 1932 and his Ph.D. from Columbia in 1939. He was a lecturer at Harvard in the mid-1 930s and worked at the National Bureau of...
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