Novozhilov, Viktor Valentinovich

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(18921970), Soviet economist who made important contributions to the revival of modern economics in the Soviet Union, especially via the concept of opportunity cost.

Novozhilov was educated at Kiev University, finishing in 1915. While still a student, he wrote two serious economic works, one of which was awarded a gold medal in 1913. Among his teachers were two famous economists, Yevgeny Yevgenievich Slutsky and Mikhail Ivanovich Tugan-Baranovsky. He taught at universities in Ukraine until 1922, when he went to Leningrad. There he taught and worked for the rest of his life. He was often in political trouble for his economic views, and had a very difficult time getting his work published. In the post-Stalin years, however, he gained authority and influence, and in 1965 he received the Lenin Prize (along with Vasily Sergeyevich Nemchinov and Leonid Vitaliyevich Kantorovich). In November 1965, he moved to the Leningrad branch of the Central Economic-Mathematical Institute. He was elected a full member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.

Novozhilov was one of the most creatively significant of the Soviet economists. His most notable scientific contribution concerned the capital intensity issue, which grew out of his participation over many years in the work of institutes designing new plants and technologies. It was on the basis of this experience that he wrote his doctoral dissertation, titled Methods of Measuring the National Economic Effectiveness of Project Variants, a theme which ultimately led him to a general opportunity-cost theory of value and allocation.

Novozhilov was a rarity in Soviet economics, a representative of the prerevolutionary intelligentsia who managed to preserve its values in the Soviet environment. He was a man of sterling character and attractive personality, an erudite scholar with a cosmopolitan view of the world, and an accomplished violinist and painter. He understood English, though he did not feel comfortable speaking it.

See also: slutsky, yevgeny yevgenievich; tugan baranovsky, mikhail ivanovich


Robert Campbell. (1961). "Marx, Kantorovich, and Novozhilov: Stoimost Versus Reality," Slavic Review 20: 402418.

Novozhilov, Valentin. (1970). Problems of Cost-Benefit Analysis in Optimal Planning. White Plains, NY: International Arts and Sciences Press.

Robert W. Campbell

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