The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Newcomb, Simon (1835–1909)

  • Milton Friedman
Reference work entry


Newcomb entitled his autobiography Reminiscences of an Astronomer (1903), devoted only 10 pages out of 416 to his activities in economics, and remarked: ‘Being sometimes looked upon as an economist, I deem it not improper to disclaim any part in the economic research of today’ (p. 408). The 1913 Encyclopaedia Britannica in a lengthy article describes him as ‘one of the most distinguished astronomers of his time’ and includes one sentence, ‘He also wrote on questions of finance and economics.’ The 1970 edition of the Encyclopaedia describes him as ‘the greatest American astronomer of the 19th century’ and repeats the remark that ‘he wrote on finance and economics’.


Charitable giving Equation of exchange Newcomb, S. Quantity theory of money Wages fund 

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  1. Archibald, R.C. 1924. Simon Newcomb 1835–1909. Bibliography of his life and work. Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences 17: 19–69.Google Scholar
  2. Campbell, W.W. 1924. Biographical memoir: Simon Newcomb. Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences 17: 1–18.Google Scholar
  3. Fisher, I. 1909. Obituary. Simon Newcomb. Economic Journal 19: 641–644.Google Scholar
  4. Friedman, M., and A.J. Schwartz. 1963. A monetary history of the United States. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Stigler, S.M. 1973. Simon Newcomb, Percy Daniell, and the history of robust estimation 1885–1920. Journal of the American Statistical Association 68: 872–879.Google Scholar

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Milton Friedman
    • 1
  1. 1.