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An Interview With Wassily Leontief


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  • Foley, Interviewed by Duncan K.


Wassily Leontief is one of the central creators and shapers of twentieth-century economics. He invented input-output theory and the techniques for constructing input-output tables from economic and technological data and was responsible for making input-output tables the most powerful and widely used tool of structural economic analysis. The theory of input-output matrices played an important role in the clarification of general equilibrium theory in the 1940 s and 1950 s as well. Leontief has also made fundamental and seminal contributions to the theories of demand, international trade, and economic dynamics. His research interests include monetary economics, population, econometric method, environmental economics, distribution, disarmament, induced technical change, international capital movements, growth, economic planning, and the Soviet and other socialist economies. Leontief has played a vigorous part in formulating national and international policies addressing technology, trade, population, arms control, and the environment. He has also been a well-informed and influential critic of contemporary economic method, theory, and practice. Leontief received the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics in 1973.I met Wassily Leontief on April 14, 1997, at his apartment high above Washington Square Park in New York City. Leontief reclined on a sofa in the living room, with Mrs. Leontief going about her business in the background, occasionally asking after Leontief s comfort. Leontief s voice on the tape ranges from an assertive forte to a whispery piano. He is by turns animated, thoughtful, puzzled, inspiring, and charming. A chiming clock marking the passage of quarter-hours and characteristic New York street noise occasionally obscure his words on the tape. I have edited the transcript for continuity and clarity.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Macroeconomic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 2 (1998)
Issue (Month): 01 (March)
Pages: 116-140

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Handle: RePEc:cup:macdyn:v:2:y:1998:i:01:p:116-140_00

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Cited by:
  1. Akhabbar, Amanar & Lallement, Jérôme, 2010. "Wassily Leontief and Léon Walras: the Production as a Circular Flow," MPRA Paper 30207, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Akhabbar, Amanar, 2007. "Leontief et l'économie comme science empirique: la signification opérationnelle des lois
    [Leontief and economics as an empirical science: the “operational meaning” of laws]
    ," MPRA Paper 30453, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Akhabbar, Amanar & Lallement, Jerôme, 2011. "« Appliquer la théorie économique de l’équilibre général » : de Walras à Leontief
    [Applying general equilibrium theory: from Walras to Leontief]
    ," MPRA Paper 30210, University Library of Munich, Germany.


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