Log In

Karl Gunnar Myrdal Edit Profile

politician , sociologist

Karl Gunnar Myrdal was a Swedish economist, sociologist and politician.


In Gunnar Myrdal's doctoral dissertation, published in 1927, he examined the role of expectations in price formation. His analysis strongly influenced the Stockholm school. He built on Knut Wicksell´s theories of Cumululative Causation of endogenous money and contributed to developed this ideas, and stressed the importance of Knightian uncertainty and Ex ante and Ex post expectations role in the economic process.

Between 1925 and 1929, he studied in Britain and Germany. He was a Rockefeller Fellow and visited the United States in 1929-1930. During this period, he published his first books, including The Political Element in the Development of Economic Theory. Returning to Europe, he served for one year as Associate Professor in the Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, Switzerland


He presided over the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, an international watch-dog for the arms trade.He was one of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto. Myrdal was a signatory of the 1950 UNESCO statement The Race Question, which rebuts the theories of racial supremacy and purity, and also influenced the Brown v. Board of Education decision


  • Professor Myrdal was an early supporter of the theses of John Maynard Keynes, although he maintained that the basic idea of adjusting national budgets to slow or speed an economy was first developed by him and articulated in his book Monetary Economics, published in 1932, four years prior to Keynes' General Theory of employment, interest and money.Gunnar Myrdal also developed the key concept circular cumulative causation, a multi-causal approach where the core variables and their linkages are delineated.


  • article

    • Fiscal policy in the business cycle. The American economic review, vol 21, no 1, Mar 1939

    • Population, a problem for democracy. Harvard University Press (1940)

  • book

    • The political element in the development of economic theory (1930)

    • The cost of living in sweden 1830-1930 (1933)

    • Crisis in the population question (1934)

    • Asian drama: an inquiry into the poverty of nations (1968)

    • The challenge of world poverty: a world anti-poverty program in outline (1970)

    • An American Dilemma: The Negro problem and modern democracy, 1944


Gunnar Myrdal strongly opposed the Vietnam War. He headed the Swedish Vietnam Committee and became co-chair of International Commission of Inquiry Into U.S. War Crimes in Indochina.


  • Social Democratic of Parliament, 1933 , Sweden


Karl Adolf Pettersson (1876–1934)

Anna Sofia Karlsson (1878–1965)

Wife (married 1924):
Alva Myrdal - politician

He coauthored with his wife, Alva Myrdal, the Crisis in the Population Question.The work of Gunnar and Alva inspired policies adopted by the Minister of Social Affairs, Gustav Möller, to provide social support to families.