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Walt Whitman Rostow

advisor , Economist

Walt Whitman ROSTOW, economist in the field of Economic History; Economic Theory; Economic Development.


Ethnicity: Walt Rostow was born in New York City to a Russian Jewish immigrant family.

ROSTOW, Walt Whitman was born in 1916 in New York City, New York, United States of America.


Bachelor of Arts, Doctor of Philosophy Yale University, 1936, 1940. Master of Arts Oxford University, 1946. Master of Arts Cambridge University, 1949, Honorary Doctor of Laws Carnegie Institute, Institution Technology, Pittsburgh, 1962, University Miami, 1965, University Notre Dame, 1966, Middelbury College, Vermont, 1967.

Honorary Dr Humane Letters, Jacksonville University, Florida, 1974.


Instructor Economics, Columbia University, 1940-1941. Major, United States Army, 1942-1945. Assistant Chief, German-Austrian Economics Division, United States Department State, Washington, District of Columbia, 1945-1946.

Harmsworth Professor American History, Oxford University, 1946-1947. Assistant, Executive Secretary, European Economie Community, Geneva,

9. Pitt Professor American History.

Lector, Cambridge University, 1949-1950, 1958. Professor Economics History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., USA, Staff Member, Center International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., USA, 1951-1961. Deputy Special Assistant, Special Assistant, United States President for National Security Affairs, 1961,1966-1969.

Chairman, Policy Planning Council, Counselor, United States Department State, 1961-1966. United States Member, Inter-American Committee Alliance for Progress (Ambassador), 1964-1966. Rex G. Baker Junior Professor Political Economics, University Texas, Austin, Texas, United States of America.


  • Rostow developed the Rostovian take-off model of economic growth, one of the major historical models of economic growth. The model argues that economic modernization occurs in five basic stages of varying length—traditional society, preconditions for take-off, take-off, drive to maturity, and high mass consumption. This became one of the important concepts in the theory of modernization in social evolutionism.



I have tried to do three things in the field of economics. First, to bring to bear modern economic theory and statistical analysis on economic history. Second, to generate from historical and contemporary experience systematic views about the process of economic development, including the role of noneconomic variables.

Third, to contribute to the emergence of a general, dynamic theory of prices and production which would differ from conventional macroand micro-theory in that it (1) embraces as endogenous demographic change, the

generation and diffusion of new technologies, and trend movements in the prices of basic commodities relative to industrial products. And (2) systematically links sectoral and aggregate analysis.

On the whole, my colleagues have generously acknowledged, not without criticism, my efforts in economic history and development, while ignoring or resisting actively my theoretical propositions. But the special character of whatever contribution I may have made to historical and development analysis stems directly from the distinctive, dynamic, disaggregated theoretical framework I have devised and used.

Incomplete at present, that framework nevertheless seeks to meet head-on the formidable challenges posed in any effort to deal systematically with the Marshallian long period. Much of the weakness, irrelevance, and even bankruptcy of contemporary mainstream economics flows from its evasion of those challenges because, contrary to Keynes’s famous dictum, long-period forces are actively at work every day of our lives.


  • Academy Arts and Scis.

  • American Philosophical Society

  • Massachusetts Hist. Society

  • Texas Philosophical Society

  • Cosmos Club

  • Elizabethan Club. Clubs: Cosmos (Washington); Elizabethan (New Haven).




Eugene Victor Debs Rostow

Ralph Waldo Emerson Rostow