Slutsky, Yevgeny Yevgenievich

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(18801948), mathematical statistician and economist.

The most profoundly original of all Russian contributors to economic theory, Yevgeny Slutsky was born in Yaroslavl and studied mathematics in Ukraine. His first major publications were in the field of statistics and on the importance of cooperatives. In 1915 he published a seminal article on the theory of consumer behavior. This demonstrated how the consequence of a price change on the quantity of a good demanded could lead to a residual variation in demand, even with a compensating increase in income. John Hicks rediscovered this work in the West in the 1930s, naming the Slutsky equation the "Fundamental Equation of Value Theory." After 1917 Slutsky worked on analyzing the effects of paper currency emission, on the axiomatic foundations of probability theory, and on the theory of stochastic processes. This yielded a new conception of the stochastic limit.

As a consequence, in 1925 Nikolai Kondratiev asked Slutsky to join the Conjuncture Institute in Moscow, for which he wrote his groundbreaking paper on the random generation of business cycles. This opened up a new avenue of cycle research by hypothesizing that the summation of mutually independent chance factors could generate the appearance of periodicity in a random series. In the 1920s Slutsky also worked on the praxeological foundations of economics, but with the closure of the Conjuncture Institute in 1930, he turned back to statistics. He subsequently worked in the Central Institute of Meteorology, in Moscow University, and in the Steklov Mathematical Institute. Here Slutsky computed the functions of variables, which led to the posthumous publication of tables for the incomplete Gamma-function and the chi-squared probability distribution. He died of natural causes in 1948.

See also: kondratiev, nikolai dmitrievich


Allen, R. G. D. (1950). "The Work of Eugen Slutsky." Econometrica 18:209216.

Slutsky, E. E. (1937). "The Summation of Random Causes as the Source of Cyclic Processes." Econometrica 5:105146.

Slutsky, E. E. (1953). "On the Theory of the Budget of the Consumer." In American Economic Association, Readings in Price Theory. London: Allen & Unwin.

Vincent Barnett