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Dan USHER

Dan USHER, economist in the field of Economic and Social Statistical Data and Analysis; Fiscal Theory; General Economic Theory. Fellow, Royal Society Canada.

Background

  • USHER, Dan was born in 1934 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

  • Education

    • Bachelor of Arts McGill University, 1955. Master of Arts, Doctor of Philosophy University Chicago, 1958, 1960.

    Career

    • Economics, United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East, Bangkok, Thailand, 1960-1961. Halsworth Fellow Economics, University Manchester, 1961-1963. Research Fellow Economics, Nuffield College Oxford, 1963-1966.

      Assistant Professor, Graduate School Business, Columbia University, 1966-1967. Killam Fellow Canada Council, Queen’s University, 1971-1973. Consultant, Canadian Economics Development Agency, 1969.

      Consultant, National Accounts Division, Canada Dominion Bureau State, 1970, Economics Planning Unit, Government Malaysia, Harvard Development Advisory Service, 1974. National Fellow, Hoover Institute, Institution War Revolution and Peace, Stanford, California, 1978-1979. Professor of Economics, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

    Major achievements

    • Fellow, Royal Society Canada.

    Views

    The greater part of my research has been devoted to aspects of two quite different subjects: the measurement of real national income across countries or over time and the connection, if any, between the form of economic organisation and the maintenance of democratic government. My studies of national accounting began when I was working for the United Nations in Bangkok. One could not help but notice the discrepancy between the exceedingly low numbers commonly used to characterise the national incomes of poor countries and the simple biological fact that people in many of these countries did manage to remain alive and to prosper.

    This observation gave rise to the statistical problem of constructing better numbers and to the theoretical problem of why the available numbers appeared to be so far off the mark. These matters are examined in The Price Mechanism and the Meaning of National Income Statistics. I then went on to write The Measurement of Economic Growth about the comparison of incomes over time with special reference to the construction of alternative measures for Canada over the period 1926 to 1974. The Economic Prerequisite to Democracy is a development of the observation that certain well-known weaknesses in majority rule as a means of allocating income among citizens carry strong implications about how the economy must be organised if government by majority rule is to be preserved.

    The book is in part an attempt to explain why democratic government has usually been associated with some forms of economic organisation but not others, and it is in part an attempt to use the maintenance of democratic government as a criterion, to be set along with efficiency and equality, in the evaluation of economic policy. Over the years I have dabbled in a variety of topics: capital theory, the theory of demand, invention, international trade, migration, industrial policy and public finance.

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