Wassily Leontief

(1906-1999)


Wassily Leontief, born at St. Petersburg (Leningrad), USSR (now Russia), was an economist notable for his research on how changes in one economic sector may have an effect on other sectors. Leontief won the Nobel Prize in 1973.

Early Life

Wassily Leontief, the son of Wassily W. Leontief (professor of Economics) and Eugenia, entered the University of Leningrad in present day St. Petersburg in 1921. He earned his Learned Economist degree (equivalent to Master of Arts) in 1925 at the age of 19.

Opposition to Communism

He was arrested several times because of his opposition to Communism.

In 1925, he was allowed to leave the USSR, so he continued his studies at the University of Berlin [1] and in 1929 he earned a Ph.D. degree in Economics with a speciality in Input-Output Analysis and Economics.

Early Professional Life

From 1927 to 1930, he worked at the Institute for World Economics of the University of Kiel [2]. There he researched the derivation of statistical demand and supply curves. In 1929 he travelled to China to assist the Ministry of Railroads as an advisor.

In 1931, he went to the USA, and was employed by the National Bureau of Economic Research [3]

Marriage and Affiliation with Harvard

In 1932, Leontief married the poet Estelle Marks. Their only child, Svetlana Leontief Alpers, was born in 1936.

Harvard University employed him in the same year (1932) in its Department of Economics and, in 1946, he became a professor of Economics.

Leontief set up the Harvard Economic Research Project in 1948 and remained its director until 1973. Starting in 1965, he chaired the Harvard Society of Fellows.

Death

Leontief died in New York City, New York, USA, on Friday, February 5, 1999 at the age of 93.

Publications

1941: Structure of the American Economy, 1919-1929
1953: Studies in the Structure of the American Economy
1966: Input-Output Economics
1966: Essays in Economics
1977: Essays in Economics, II
1977: The Future of the World Economy
1983: Military Spending: Facts and Figures, Worldwide Implications and Future Outlook co-authed with F. Duchin.
1983: The Future of Non-Fuel Minerals in the U. S. And World Economy co-authed with J. Koo, S. Nasar and I. Sohn
1986: The Future Impact of Automation on Workers co-authed with F. Dochin

Awards

1953: Order of the Cherubim, University of Pisa
1962: Dr honoris causa, University of Brussels
1967: Dr of the University, University of York
1968: Officer of the French Legion d'Honneur
1970: Bernhard-Harms Prize Economics, West Germany
1971: Dr honoris causa, University of Louvain
1972: Dr honoris causa, University of Paris (Sorbonne)
1973: Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, aka Nobel Prize in Economics
1976: Dr honoris causa, University of Pennsylvania
1980: Dr honoris causa, University of Toulouse, France
1980: Dr honoris causa, University of Louisville, Kentucky
1980: Doctor of Social Sciences, University of Vermont
1980: Doctor of Laws, C. W. Post Center, Long Island University
1980: Russian-American Hall of Fame
1981: Karl Marx University, Budapest, Hungary
1984: Order of the Rising Sun, Japan
1985: Commandeur, French Order of Arts and Letters
1988: Dr honoris causa, Adelphi College
1988: Foreign member, USSR Academy of Sciences
1989: Society of the Optimate, Italian Cultural Institute, New York
1990: Dr honoris causa, University of Cordoba, Spain
1991: Takemi Memorial Award, Institute of Seizon & Life Sciences, Japan
1995: Harry Edmonds Award for Life Achievement, International House, New York
1995: Dr honoris causa, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany

In Honor

Tufts University awards the Leontief Prize for economics in his honor.

Memberships

1954: President of the Econometric Society
1968: Corresponding Member of the Institut de France
1970: President of the American Economic Association
1970: Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy
1974: US-USSR Commission on the Social Sciences and Humanities of the International Research and Exchanges Board
1975: American Committee on East-West Accord
1975: Accademia Nazionale dei Lincie, Italy
1976: President and Section F. of the British Association for the Advancement of Science
1976: Honorary Member of the Royal Irish Academy
1977: Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
1978: Commission to Study the Organization of Peace
1978 - 1986: Board of Trustees of North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
1979: Century Club
1979: Issues Committee of the Progressive Alliance
1980: Committee for National Security
1981: Board of Visitors, College of Liberal Arts, Boston University
1981: Board of Editors, Journal of Business Strategy
1982: International Advisory Council of the Delian Institute of International Relations
1982: Accademia Mediterranea Delle Scienze, Italy
1983: Board of Advisors, Environmental Fund
1983: Board of Directors, Tolstoy Foundation
1985: International Committee, Carnegie-Mellon University
1990: Academy of Creative Endeavors, USSR
1992: International Charitable Foundation, Russia
1993: Academie Europeenne
1993: Honorary President of the World Academy for the Progress of Planning Science, Italy
1993: Member of the Academie Universelle des Cultures, France
1994: Fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences
1995: Member of the International Leadership Center on Longevity & Society, Mt. Sinai Hospital
American Philosophical Society
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
International Statistical Institute
Honorary Member of the Japan Economic Research Center, Tokyo
Honorary Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, London


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