Celebrating Irving Fisher: The Legacy of a Great Economist

Overview

Irving Fisher (1867-1947), economist, Yale University teacher, inventor, mathematician and activist reformer, was one of the most important American economists of the first half of the 20th century. On the 50th anniversary of his death in May of 1998, a large gathering of economists met at Yale to reassess Fisher's enormous scientific contribution. Such a reevaluation was facilitated by welcomed republication of all of Fisher's books and articles in 14 volumes the previous year. The offices of the Cowles ...

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Overview

Irving Fisher (1867-1947), economist, Yale University teacher, inventor, mathematician and activist reformer, was one of the most important American economists of the first half of the 20th century. On the 50th anniversary of his death in May of 1998, a large gathering of economists met at Yale to reassess Fisher's enormous scientific contribution. Such a reevaluation was facilitated by welcomed republication of all of Fisher's books and articles in 14 volumes the previous year. The offices of the Cowles Foundation at Yale University were made available for the presentations and the Cowles Foundation directors and administrators assisted with the preparation of this important volume.

This book consists of original papers explaining Fisher's technical contributions to econometrics, a reassessment of his prescient and much neglected textbook on economics, his theories of capital and interest, his debt-deflation theory of depression, the various financial devices that he developed to improve governance and policy-making, and finally his eugenic crusades that included the prohibition of alcoholic beverages and healthy diets. Fisher's ideas were so advanced for his time that many of the contributors to these volumes delight in pointing out how the recent financial inventions in the world economy are catching up to the insights that Fisher provided decades earlier. This volume consists of the major papers from that conference including written versions of the comments that were presented at that time. The contributions include original essays by Nobel Laureate, James Tobin. Other contributions include analytic essays by distinguished economics such as, A. J. Auerbach,William J. Barber, W. C. Brainard, W. E. Diewert, Robert Dimand, Victor R. Fuchs, John Geanakoplos, M. J. Graetz, Robert E. Hall, William D. Nordhaus, Peter C. B. Phillips, John Rust, Herbert E. Scarf, M. D. Shapiro, J. B. Shoven, Robert J. Shiller, Martin Shubik, T. N. Srinivasan, John Whalley, and others. In addition, the editors have included several already published biographical essays on Fisher so that the collection will be thorough and complete. A useful scholarly index has been prepared especially for this volume.

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Meet the Author

Robert W. Dimand is a Professor of Economics at Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, where he holds a Chancellor's Chair for Research Excellence. His research is on the history of macroeconomics, of game theory, and of women in economics.

John Geanakoplos is the James Tobin Professor of Economics at Yale University, New Haven, CT, where he is the Director of the Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics. His research is in economic theory and mathematical economics, with a focus on general equilibrium with incomplete markets.

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Table of Contents

Frontispieces.

Acknowledgments.

Foreword (George W. Fisher).

Celebrating Irving Fisher: the Legacy of a Great Economist (Robert W. Dimand and John Geanakoplos).

Irving Fisher (1867-1947 (James Tobin).

Irving Fisher of Yale (William J. Barber).

How to Compute Equilibrium Prices in 1891 (William C. Brainard and Herbert E. Scarf).

Comment on William C. Brainard and Herbert E. Scarf's "How to Compute Equilibrium Prices in 1891" (K.R. Sreenivasan).

Controlling the Price Level (Robert E. Hall)'.

Comment on Robert E. Hall's "Controlling the Price Level" (James Tobin).

Stable Prices, Money and the Cost of Living (Martin Shubik).

Econometric Analysis of Fisher's Equation (Peter C.B. Phillips).

Comments on "Econometric Analysis of Fisher's Equation" - by Peter C.B. Phillips (Jon Rust).

Fisher, Keynes, and the Corridor of Stability (Robert W. Dimand).

Fisher's Introductory Text (James Tobin).

Fisher's The Nature of Capital and Income (James Tobin).

Irving Fisher's Spending (Consumption) Tax in Retrospect (John B. Shoven and John Whalley).

Comments on John B. Shoven and John Whalley's "Irving Fisher's Spendings (Consumption ) Tax in Retrospect (Alan J. Aurebach).

Comments on John B. Shoven and John Whalley's, "Irving Fisher's Spendings (Consumption) tax in Retrospect" (Michael J. Graetz).

The Ideal Inflation-Indexed Bond and Irving Fisher's Impatience theory of Interest with Overlapping Generations (John Geanakoplos).

Comments on John Geanakoplos's "The Ideal Inflation-Indexed Bond and Irving Fisher's Impatience Theory of Interest with Overlapping Generations" (Robert J. Shiller).

Index Number Theory Using Differences Rather Than Ratios (W. Erwin Diewert).

Comment on W. Erwin Diewert's, "Index Number Theory Using Differences Rather Than Ratios" (Matthew D. Shapiro).

Irving Fisher and the Contribution of Improved Longevity to Living Standards 9William D. Nordhaus).

Comments on William D. Nordhaus's, "Irving Fisher and the Contribution of Improved Longevity to Living Standards" (Robvert W. Dimand).

Comments on William D. Nordhaus's, "Irving Fisher and the Contribution of Improved Longevity to Living Standards: (T. N. Srinivasan).

Health, Government, and Irving Fisher (Victor R. Fuchs).

Does "Health Promotion" Really Promote Health (Alvan R. Feinstein).

Irving Fisher, Victor Fuchs, and the Health-Government Tangle (Richard Zeckhauser).

Index.

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