Simon Kuznets was born in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on April 30, 1901; he moved to the United States with his father in 1922. He attended Columbia University and received his B.Sc. in 1923, M.A. in 1924, and Ph.D. in 1926. From 1925 to 1926, Kuznets spent time studying economic patterns in prices as the Research Fellow at the Social Science Research Council. It was this work that led to his book Secular Movements in Production and Prices, published in 1930.
From 1931 until 1936, Kuznets was a part-time professor at the University of Pennsylvania; becoming a full-time professor 1936 until 1954. In 1954, Kuznets moved to John Hopkins University, where he was Professor of Political Economy until 1960. From 1961 until his retirement in 1970, Kuznets taught at Harvard.
Kuznets is credited with revolutionising econometrics, and this work is credited with fueling the Keynesian Revolution. His most important book is National Income and Its Composition, 1919–1938. Published in 1941, it is one of the most historically significant works on Gross National Product. Much of Kuznets’ research and experience with domestic economics came from his working for the National Bureau of Economic Research, from 1927 to the 1960s. His work on the business cycle and disequilibrium aspects of economic growth helped launch development economics. He also studied inequality over time, and his results formed the Kuznets Curve.
Simon Kuznets was elected president of the American Economics Association in 1954. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1971 for his experimental work on economic growth. He identified a new economic era, which he titled “modern economic growth,” which began in Europe and spread toward the east and south.
Simon Kuznets died on July 8, 1985, at the age of 84.