Abba P. Lerner bigraphy, stories - American economist

Abba P. Lerner : biography

October 28, 1903 - October 27, 1982

Abba Ptachya Lerner (October 28, 1903 – October 27, 1982) was a Russian-born British economist.

Abraham (Abba) Psachia Lerner: Abraham Psachia Lerner, Assistant Lecturer in Economics. was born on October 28, 1903 in Bessarabia (Russian Empire). He grew up in a Jewish family, which emigrated to Great Britain when Lerner was three years old. Lerner grew up in the London East End. From the age of sixteen he worked as a machinist, a teacher in Hebrew schools, and as a businessman. He entered the London School of Economics in 1929 where he would study under Friedrich Hayek. A six-month stay at Cambridge in 1934–1935 brought him into contact with John Maynard Keynes. Lerner married Alice Sendak in 1930; they had twin children, Marion and Lionel, in 1932.

In 1937, Lerner emigrated to the United States. While in the US, Lerner befriended his intellectual opponents Milton Friedman and Barry Goldwater.



  • Lerner developed a model of market socialism, which extended the planned economy model to include decentralized market pricing proportional to marginal social cost,• A. P. Lerner, 1938. "Theory and Practice in Socialist Economics," Review of Economic Studies, 6(1), pp. -75.   • _____, 1934. "Economic Theory and Socialist Economy," Review of Economic Studies, 2(1), pp. -61.   • _____, 1936. "A Note on Socialist Economics," Review of Economic Studies, 4(1), pp. -76.   • _____, 1937. "Statics and Dynamics in Socialist Economics," Economic Journal, 47(186), pp. -270.   • _____, 1944, The Economics of Control, Macmillan. (J.E. Meade article book-review )Tadeusz Kowalik (2008), "Lange, Oskar Ryszard (1904–1965)," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition. T. Scitovsky, ([1987] 2008). "Lerner, Abba Ptachya (1905–1982)," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition. Preview and, in so doing, contributed to the Lange–Lerner–Taylor theorem.Raaj Kumar Sah and Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1985. "Human Fallibility and Economic Organization," American Economic Review, 75(2), pp. -297.
  • The use of fiscal policy and monetary policy as the twin tools of Keynesian economics is credited to Lerner by historians such as David Colander."What eventually became known as textbook Keynesian policies were in many ways Lerner’s interpretations of Keynes's policies, especially those expounded in The Economics of Control (1944) and later in The Economics of Employment (1951). . . . Textbook expositions of Keynesian policy naturally gravitated to the black and white 'Lernerian' policy of Functional Finance rather than the grayer Keynesian policies. Thus, the vision that monetary and fiscal policy should be used as a balance wheel, which forms a key element in the textbook policy revolution, deserves to be called Lernerian rather than Keynesian."
  • The Lerner symmetry theorem states that an import tariff can have the same effects as an export tax.A. P. Lerner, 1936. "The Symmetry Between Import and Export Taxes", Economica, N.S., 3(11), pp. -313.Jagdish N. Bhagwati, Arvind Panagariya, and T. N. Srinivasan, 1998 Lectures On International Trade, 2nd Edition, MIT Press. and ch. 12, sect. 12-6, Lerner Symmetry Theorem, scrollable preview, pp.
  • The Lerner Index measures potential monopoly power as mark-up of price over marginal cost divided by price or equivalently the negative inverse of demand elasticity.A. P. Lerner, 1934. "The Concept of Monopoly and the Measurement of Monopoly Power," Review of Economic Studies,

1(3), pp. -175.

  • Lerner improved a formula of Alfred Marshall, which is known since as the Marshall–Lerner condition.• Abba P. Lerner, 1944, The Economics of Control, Macmillan.   • _____, 1952. "Factor Prices and International Trade," Economica, N.S., 19(73), pp. -15.
  • Lerner improved the calculations made by Wilhelm Launhardt on the effect of terms of trade.
  • Lerner developed the concept of distributive efficiency, which argued that economic equality will produce the greatest probable total utility with a given amount of wealth.• Abba P. Lerner, 1944, The Economics of Control, Macmillan, ch. 3.   • _____, 1978. "Utilitarian Marginalism (Nozick, Rawls, Justice, and Welfare)," Eastern Economic Journal, 4(1), pp.
  • Based on effective demand principle and chartalism, Lerner developed functional finance, a theory of purposeful financing (and funding) to meet explicit goals, including full employment, no taxation designed solely to fund expenditure or finance investment, and low inflation.Abba P. Lerner, 1943. "Functional Finance and the Federal Debt," Social Research, 10(1), pp. -51.
  • Lerner (1951) developed the concept of the NAIRU (before Friedman and Phelps). He termed it "low full employment" and contrasted it the "high full employment," the maximum employment achievable by implementing functional finance.Abba P. Lerner, 1951, Economics of Employment, ch. 14. McGraw-Hill. Review
  • The Lerner–Samuelson theorem goes back to Lerner.Abba P. Lerner, 1952. "Factor Prices and International Trade," Economica, N.S., 19(73), pp. -15.Murray C. Kemp, 2008. International Trade Theory: A Critical Review, Routledge, pp.
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