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Albert Otto Hirschman Edit Profile

Economist , educator

Albert Otto Hirschman is an influential economist who has authored several books on political economy and political ideology. N.A.S.; Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Italy. German economist in the field of General Economies; Economie Growth; Development; and Planning Theory and Policy; History of Economie Thought.


HIRSCHMAN, Albert was born on April 7, 1915 in Berlin, Germany. Son of Carl Hirschman and Hedwig Marcuse.


Certificat. Institute, Institution Statistique, Sorbonne, Paris, 1934. Diplôme, Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales, Paris, 1935. Dottore di Scienze Economiche, University Trieste, Italy, 1938.

Honorary Doctor of Laws, Rutgers University, 1978.


Economics, Institute, Institution Recherches Economiques et Sociales, Institute, Institution International de Coopération Intellectuelle, Paris, 1938-1939. Research Fellow International Economics, University California Berkeley, 1941-1943. Economics, Federal Reserve Board, Washington, District of Columbia, 1946-1952.

Economics Adviser, Consultant, Bogotá, Colombia, 1952-1956. Visiting Research Professor, Yale University, 1956-1958. Professor International Economics Relations, Columbia University, 1958-1964.

Lucius N. Littauer Professor Political Economics, Harvard University, 1964-1967, 1967-1974. Fellow, Center Advanced Study Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California, 1968-1969. Visiting Member, Institute, Institution Advanced Study, Princeton University, 1972-1973.

Professor Social Science, Institute, Institution Advanced Study, Princeton University, New Jersey, United States of America, since 1974.


  • Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Fellow, International Student Service, London School of Economies and Political Science, London, United Kingdom, 1935-1936. Rockefeller Foundation Fellow, University California Berkeley, 1941-1943.

    Ford Foundation Faculty Research Fellow, 1964-1965. Frank E. Seidman Distinguished Award Political Economics, 1980. Talcott Parsons Prize, Social Science, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1983.

    Distinguished Fellow, American Economic Association, 1984.



Early interest was in structure of world trade and political implications of its asymmetries and patterns of concentration (Book No. 1 above). In the immediate postwar years I turned to problems of ‘dollar shortage’ and European reconstruction, particularly in France and Italy, and integration. Subsequent advisory work in Colombia led to elaboration of a theory of ‘unbalanced growth’ that assigned an important role to nonmarket forces (Book No.

2). This was followed by detailed examination of policy-making and problem-tackling sequences in Latin America (Book No. 3) and of dynamics of World-Bankfinanced projects in Latin America, Asia and Africa (Book No. 4). The interaction of market and nonmarket processes, or between economics and politics, was then explored at a more theoretical level, for firms and for other organisations in Exit, Voice, and Loyalty.

With repressive authoritarian regimes on the rise in Latin America after a period of economic growth, I looked to the history of ideas for clues to the likely political effects of economic expansion and wrote about the hopeful, beautiful and flawed 17thand 18thcentury speculations about this matter (in Book No.

7), whose story is brought up to date in Article No. 5. Next I contrasted the pursuit of one’s private interests with that of the public interest and attempted to understand oscillations — of persons, generations, or entire societies — between these two pursuits (Book No. 9). Finally I felt that private and group interests are often conjoined among economically deprived groups and this thought led me back to Latin America for a close look at grassroots development (Book No.

10). Thus my principal interests have been economic and social change

and the interaction of economics, politics and ideology.


N.A.S.; Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Italy.

  • Fellow American Economic Association; National Academy of Sciences

  • Council Foreign Relations

  • American Academy Arts and Scis.

  • American Philosophical Society (Thomas Jefferson medal 1998); foreign British Academy


  • Other Interests

    Art and art history.


Married Sarah Chapiro in 1941.



Sarah Chapiro

Ursula Hirschmann

Varian Mackey Fry