Schultz, Henry (1893–1938)
Schultz was one of a small group of pioneering econometricians who, in the 1920s and 1930s, laid the groundwork for the phenomenal development of mathematical economics and econometrics that occurred after the Second World War. His graduate courses in mathematical economics and statistics inspired students to address themselves to economic problems in quantitative terms, to reformulate economic theory in empirically testable form, and to test theories by means of diligent search for relevant statistical information and careful application of appropriate statistical analysis. His own research, culminating in his magnum opus, The Theory and Measurement of Demand (1938), could well serve as a model for a proper approach to economic analysis today. Schultz devoted all his professional life to the integration of pure economic theory with empirical analysis. Unlike considerable econometric work today, which is often empirical without much grounding in economic theory, his statistical analysis is solidly based on mathematical economic theory, as well as on the statistical theory of correlation and curve-fitting. Elegant summaries of both fields, based in large part upon his lecture notes and his research work, appear in the book, along with the empirical studies of demand for a large number of agricultural commodities for which the theories served as the basic foundation. The student wishing to get a good introduction to mathematical economics as formulated by Cournot, Walras and Pareto, and to the fundamentals of Gaussian curve-fitting analysis, will find clear and lucid presentations of these subjects in Schultz’s book. At the same time he will not fail to be impressed by the extraordinary concern for statistical accuracy and precision demonstrated in the empirical analysis throughout the book.