Hirschman, Albert Otto

views updated


HIRSCHMAN, ALBERT OTTO (1915– ), economist. Hirschman, who was born in Berlin, studied at the Sorbonne, the London School of Economics, and the University of Trieste, where he earned his doctorate in economics in 1938. He was a Rockefeller Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley (1941–43), and then served in the United States Army (1943–46). He was chief of the West European and Commonwealth section of the Federal Reserve Board from 1946 to 1952. He served for two years as financial adviser to the National Planning Board of Colombia, and then as private economic counselor in Bogota (1954–56). In 1956 Yale University appointed him research professor in economics, and in 1958 he became professor of international economic relations at Columbia University. In 1964 he was named professor of political economy at Harvard, later serving as Littauer Professor of Political Economy from 1967 to 1974. In 1975, he joined the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, becoming professor emeritus in 1985.

Hirschman's main interests are economic development and international economics, as well as interdisciplinary fields such as sociology and anthropology. Described as a playful genius who enjoys being unconventional, Hirschman is regarded as a master of viewing old problems in a new way.

Among his many honors, Hirschman received the Talcott Parsons Prize for Social Science from the American Academy of Sciences (1983); the Toynbee Prize (1997–98); and the Thomas Jefferson Medal, awarded by the American Philosophical Society (1998).

His writings include National Power and the Structure of Foreign Trade (1945), The Strategy of Economic Development (1958), Journeys toward Progress (1963, 19652), Development Projects Observed (1967), Exit, Voice, and Loyalty (1970), The Passions and the Interests (1977), Shifting Involvements (1982), Rival Views of Market Society (1986), The Rhetoric of Reaction (1991), A Propensity to Self-Subversion (1995), and Crossing Boundaries (1998).

add. bibliography:

L. Meldolesi, Discovering the Possible: The Surprising World of Albert O. Hirschman (1995); L. Rodwin and D. Schon (eds.), Rethinking the Development Experience: Essays Provoked by the Work of Albert O. Hirschman (1994).

[Joachim O. Ronall /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]

More From encyclopedia.com