Tripti Joshi

Abba P Lerner

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Name  Abba Lerner
Role  Economist
Fields  Economics

Abba P. Lerner httpswwwfloridamemorycomfpcfoleymf0444jpg
Born  28 October 1903 (1903-10-28) Bessarabia, Russian Empire
Nationality  Moldovan-British-American
School or tradition  Post-Keynesian economics
Alma mater  London School of Economics
Influences  Friedrich Hayek, John Maynard Keynes, Paul Samuelson, Oskar R. Lange
Died  October 27, 1982, Tallahassee, Florida, United States
Education  London School of Economics and Political Science
Books  The Economics of Control: Principles of Welfare Economics
Influenced by  John Maynard Keynes, Friedrich Hayek, Paul Samuelson
Similar People  John Maynard Keynes, Paul Samuelson, Friedrich Hayek, David Colander, Arthur Cecil Pigou

Abraham (Abba) Ptachya Lerner (also Abba Psachia Lerner; 28 October 1903 – 27 October 1982) was a Russian-born British economist. Lerner was born on 28 October 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 London's East End, and from age sixteen, he worked as a machinist, a teacher in Hebrew schools, and as an entrepreneur.


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

Lerner never stayed at one institution long, serving on the faculties of nearly a dozen universities and accepting over twenty visiting appointments. Lerner was sixty-two when he was given a professorship at the University of California, Berkeley in 1965, and left after reaching mandatory retirement age six years later. During his time there, Lerner criticized the unrest caused by the student Free Speech Movement as a threat to academic freedom.

Although Lerner never received the Sveriges Riksbank's Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, he has been recognized as one of the greatest economists of his era. Fundamental economic "concepts, theorems and rules" were derived and/or furthered by Lerner's work throughout his academic career.


  • Lerner developed a model of market socialism, which featured decentralised market pricing proportional to marginal social cost, and, in so doing, contributed to the Lange–Lerner–Taylor theorem.
  • Lerner contributed to the idea of a social dividend by incorporating it into Lange's original model of socialism, where the social dividend would be distributed to each citizen as a lump-sum payment.
  • 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.
  • The Lerner symmetry theorem states that an import tariff can have the same effects as an export tax.
  • 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.
  • Lerner improved a formula of Alfred Marshall, which is known since as the Marshall–Lerner condition.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Lerner (1951) developed the concept of the NAIRU (before Friedman and Phelps). He termed it "low full employment" and contrasted it with "high full employment," the maximum employment achievable by implementing functional finance.
  • The Lerner–Samuelson theorem goes back to Lerner.
  • Personal life

    Lerner married Alice Sendak in 1930; they had twin children, Marion and Lionel, in 1932. At some point their marriage ended and Lerner ended up remarrying to Daliah Goldfarb at the age of 57.


    Abba P. Lerner Wikipedia

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