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Walter Galenson

economics educator

Walter GALENSON, economist in the field of Labour Market Studies, Wages, Employment; Trade Unions, Collective Bargaining; Economic Growth — Country Studies. Fellow American Philosophy Society, 1947-1949; Fulbright Fellow Norway 1950-1951; Guggenheim Foundation Fellow Norway, 1955-1956; President, Association Comparative Economics Studs., 1973.


GALENSON, Walter was born in 1914 in New York City, New York, United States of America.


Bachelor, Columbia University, 1934. Master of Science, Columbia University, 1935. Doctor of Philosophy, Columbia University, 1940.

Master of Arts (honorary), University Cambridge, 1971.


Economics United States War Department OfficeStrategie Services, 1942-1945. Labor Attaché, United States Embassies, Norway, Denmark, 1945-1946. Assistant Professor of Economics, Harvard University, 1946-1951.

Professor of Economics, University California Berkeley 1951-1965. Consultant, International Labour Office, 1961-1971. Professor of Economics, Cornell University, 1966-1980.

Pitt Professor, Cambridge University,1970-1971. Consultant, Government Indonesia, 1971-1972. Member, United States Delegation, International Labour Office, 1972, 1976.

Visiting Professor, University Gothenburg,1974. Jacob Gould Schurman Professor, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, since 1980.

Editorial Board, Labor History, 1962-1973, Industrial Relations, 1961-1966, Industrial Labor Relations Review, 1967-1974.


  • Fellow American Philosophy Society, 1947-1949. Fulbright Fellow Norway 1950-1951. Guggenheim Foundation Fellow Norway, 1955-1956.

    President, Association Comparative Economics Studs., 1973.



In one way or another, all my work has involved the labour market and its institutions. It has also largely been comparative. Out of my experience serving at the United States embassies in Oslo and Copenhagen after World War II came books on the labour movements and industrial relations systems of Norway and Denmark.

For some time thereafter, my interests switched to the Soviet economy and I worked on various aspects of that nation’s labour problems. As a graduate student in the 1930s, I was fascinated by the rapid growth of the American labour movement, and I spent several years writing about this critical period in American history. My interests then switched to what was on everyone’s mind at the time — economic development. I wrote on the labour market problems of developing countries.

Directed a large Ford Foundation financed project on the Chinese economy. And helped plan and direct the World Employment Program of the International Labour Organization. That experience convinced me that the key to successful economic development was rapid growth, and I became involved with Taiwan, out of which came two books that I edited, one dealing with the major economic factors behind Taiwan’s growth, and the second extending the analysis to Taiwan’s three Pacific neighbours — South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore.

I also did some writing on the Japanese labourmarket, which has been the source of a great deal of controversy in the West, and arrived at conclusions that varied considerably from those of most Japanese economists. Most recently, I had the opportunity to study the history of one of America’s oldest and largest trade unions and its role in the building trades.


Fellow American Philological Society. Member Association Comparative Economics Studies (president 1973). M C.