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Ragnar Frisch and the Origin of Input-Output Analysis


  • Olav Bjerkholt
  • Mark Knell


Ragnar Frisch claimed on various occasions that he had invented the principles of input-output analysis. Frisch and Leontief worked simultaneously on their respective contributions but within different contexts. Frisch's contribution was an attempt to cope with market collapse of the depression and thus arose from a different motivation than Leontief's equilibrium analysis. Although prominently published in Econometrica in 1934, Frisch's 'circulation planning' has not been much discussed in the literature. The paper sets out the analytic core of Frisch's contribution and its formal similarity with Wassily Leontief's input-output analysis, which was the basis for Frisch's claim. It examines the inventiveness and analytical power of Frisch's approach and relates it to other works by him.

Suggested Citation

  • Olav Bjerkholt & Mark Knell, 2006. "Ragnar Frisch and the Origin of Input-Output Analysis," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(4), pages 391-410.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ecsysr:v:18:y:2006:i:4:p:391-410
    DOI: 10.1080/09535310601020983

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    Cited by:

    1. Akhabbar, Amanar & Antille, Gabrielle & Fontela, Emilio & Pulido, Antonio, 2011. "Input-Output in Europe: Trends in Research and Applications," OEconomia, Editions NecPlus, vol. 2011(01), pages 75-99, March.
    2. PARYS, Wilfried, 2013. "All but one: How pioneers of linear economics overlooked Perron-Frobenius mathematics," Working Papers 2013030, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Applied Economics.


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