Paul Samuelson, Romantic Economist QOTD

Paul Samuelson just made my day. I just got his Foundations of Economic Analysis out of the library, in preparation for an independent study on the history of economics. A text intended for graduate students (I believe), Foundations was arguably more important than Samuelson’s best-selling undergraduate textbook, and it basically inaugurated the modern era of mathematical economics and won Samuelson the Nobel Prize.

In the preface, Samuelson first thanks Hicks (of Hicks 1937, “IS-LM” fame) for assistance with the book and then, as is customary, offers praise of his wife:

My greatest debt is to Marion Crawford Samuelson whose contributions have been all too many. The result has been a vast mathematical, economic, and stylistic improvement. Without her collaboration the book would literally not have been written, and no perfunctory uxorial acknowledgment can do justice to her aid. Nor can the quaint modern custom of excluding the value of a wife’s services from the national income condone her exclusion from the title page.

As many readers of this blog may know, I’m working right now on an ASA submission that discusses the reasons for the exclusion of unpaid housework from the national income statistics. Also, I’m a hopeless romantic, and a big nerd. As such, Paul Samuelson just made my day.

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