The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Gerschenkron, Alexander (1904–1978)

  • Albert Fishlow
Reference work entry


Gerschenkron was born in Odessa in 1904 and died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1978. He left Russia in 1920 and settled in Austria. In 1938, a decade after receiving the degree of doctor rerum politicarum from the University of Vienna, he emigrated to the United States and spent the next six years at Berkeley. After a short period at the Federal Reserve Board, he went to Harvard in 1948 to teach both economic history and Soviet studies. His passion for the former dominated, and he flourished there as the doyen of economic history in the United States. He influenced a generation of Harvard economists through his required graduate course in economic history and attracted several to his seminar and the field. His erudition and breadth were legendary, and defined an indelible, if unattainable, standard of scholarship for his colleagues and students.


Backwardness Capital accumulation Economic history Gerschenkron, A. Industrial revolution Industrialization Laspeyres index Latecomer development Modernity Paasche index Stages of growth Structural change 

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Albert Fishlow
    • 1
  1. 1.