Anna Schwartz


Anna Schwartz : biography

November 11, 1915 – June 21, 2012

Honorary Degrees

  • University of Florida (1987)
  • Stonehill College, Massachusetts (1989)
  • Iona College (1992)
  • Rutgers University (1998)
  • Emory University (2000); City University of New York Graduate Center (2000)
  • Williams College (2002)
  • Loyola University Chicago, 2003
  • City University Business School, London (2006)

Early career

Schwartz graduated from Barnard College, in New York City, at the age of 18, gained her master’s degree in economics from Columbia University when she was 19. She started her career as a professional economist one year later; in 1964, she earned a Ph.D. from Columbia, as well. In 1936, she married Isaac Schwartz, with whom she raised four children. Her first published paper was in the Review of Economics and Statistics (1940), in which she, along with Arthur Gayer and Isaiah Finkelstein, wrote British Share Prices, 1811–1850.

Growth and Fluctuations in the British Economy

In collaboration with Arthur Gayer and Walt Whitman Rostow, she produced the monumental Growth and Fluctuations in the British Economy, 1790–1850: An Historical, Statistical, and Theoretical Study of Britain’s Economic Development. It appeared in two volumes in 1953, its publication having been delayed by the war for some ten years after it was completed. That book is still highly regarded among economic scholars of the period. It was reprinted in 1975. Arthur Gayer had died before the book’s first appearance, but the other two authors wrote a new introduction that reviewed literature on the subject published since the original publication date. They admitted that there had developed what they called an "amicable divergence of view" on the interpretation of some the facts set out in the book. In particular, Anna Schwartz indicated that she had in the light of recent theoretical and empirical research revised her view of the importance of monetary policy and her interpretation of interest rate movements.

Other areas of work

There have been other areas of her work including the international transmission of inflation and of business cycles, the role of government in monetary policy, measuring the output of banks, and the behavior of interest rates, on deflation, on monetary standards. She has also done work outside of the United States. Some years ago the Department of Banking and Finance at City University, London, England, started a research project on the monetary history of the United Kingdom. For many years, she was an adviser to that project. She commented on papers, suggested lines of approach, came and spoke to students and at academic conferences where the work was discussed.


Anna Schwartz died on June 21, 2012, in her home in Manhattan, aged 96. She is survived by four children: Jonathan, Joel, Naomi Pasachoff and Paula Berggren, as well as seven grandchildren, and six great grandchildren.