IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The improbable econometric connection - Schumpeter and Frisch at the midnight of the century


  • Francisco Louçã



When Joseph Schumpeter and Ragnar Frisch first met in the autumn of 1927 at Harvard, both the ensuing personal friendship and the intense academic and institutional cooperation were highly unlikely. Schumpeter, who was by then preparing to leave Germany for his American life-long exile, was twelve years older than Frisch and had a previous intense career as the most frequently quoted economist in the first decades of the century, only to be shadowed later by the glittering triumph of Keynes’s ‘General Theory’. Comparatively, Frisch was just a young economist with no publications. Furthermore, Frisch invited his colleague to the most daring adventure: to create econometrics as the tool to reconstruct economics as a mathematically based social science. Surprisingly, Schumpeter, who was totally innocent of mathematics, embarked and enthusiastically supported the construction and workings of the Econometric Society, which would become the Olympus of economics since those frightful years of what a novelist called the “midnight of the century”. This paper presents some evidence on this improbable econometric connection. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Francisco Louçã, 2015. "The improbable econometric connection - Schumpeter and Frisch at the midnight of the century," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 173-184, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:25:y:2015:i:1:p:173-184
    DOI: 10.1007/s00191-014-0359-3

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tiago Mata & Francisco Louçã, 2009. "The Solow Residual as a Black Box: Attempts at Integrating Business Cycle and Growth Theories," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 41(5), pages 334-355, Supplemen.
    2. Francisco Louca, 1999. "The econometric challenge to Keynes: arguments and contradictions in the early debates about a late issue," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 404-438.
    3. Louca, Francisco, 2001. "Intriguing Pendula: Founding Metaphors in the Analysis of Economic Fluctuations," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(1), pages 25-55, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Adaiah Lilenstein, 2020. "Better measures of progress: Developing reliable estimates of educational access and quality in Francophone sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 13/2020, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    2. Vincent Carret, 2020. "And yet it rocks! Fluctuations and growth in Ragnar Frisch's rocking horse model," Working Papers halshs-02969773, HAL.
    3. Akhabbar, Amanar, 2014. "Circulation du capital et explication du changement économique chez Marschak, Frisch et Leontief [Capital Circulation and the Explanation of Economic Change by Marschak, Frisch and Leontief]," MPRA Paper 93327, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Krasnopjorovs, Olegs, 2013. "Latvijas ekonomikas izaugsmi noteicošie faktori [Factors of Economic Growth in Latvia]," MPRA Paper 47550, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Bormotov, Michael, 2009. "Economic cycles: historical evidence, classification and explication," MPRA Paper 19616, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Giovanni Dosi & Mauro Sodini & Maria Virgillito, 2015. "Profit-driven and demand-driven investment growth and fluctuations in different accumulation regimes," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 25(4), pages 707-728, September.
    7. Dosi, Giovanni & Fagiolo, Giorgio & Roventini, Andrea, 2010. "Schumpeter meeting Keynes: A policy-friendly model of endogenous growth and business cycles," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(9), pages 1748-1767, September.
    8. Michaël Assous & Muriel Dal Pont Legrand & Harald Hagemann, 2016. "Business cycles and growth," Chapters, in: Gilbert Faccarello & Heinz D. Kurz (ed.), Handbook on the History of Economic Analysis Volume III, chapter 4, pages 27-39, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Louçã, Francisco, 2014. "The elusive concept of innovation for Schumpeter, Marschak and the early econometricians," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(8), pages 1442-1449.
    10. Stavros A. Drakopoulos & Anastassios D. Karayiannis, 2005. "A Review of Kuhnian and Lakatosian «Explanations» in Economics," History of Economic Ideas, Fabrizio Serra Editore, Pisa - Roma, vol. 13(2), pages 51-73.
    11. Pedro Garcia Duarte & Kevin D. Hoover, 2012. "Observing Shocks," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 44(5), pages 226-249, Supplemen.

    More about this item


    Frisch; Schumpeter; Econometrics; Business Cycle; B23; C18; C51;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B23 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Econometrics; Quantitative and Mathematical Studies
    • C18 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Methodolical Issues: General
    • C51 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Construction and Estimation


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:25:y:2015:i:1:p:173-184. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.