Simon Kuznets

Simon KuznetsSimon Smith Kuznets, 1901-1985, was a Russian born American economist, Professor at Harvard University. His main works were related with the economic growth of nations.  He won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 1971. Kuznets was granted this award for the use of empirical methods in order to understand better the economic and social structure and economic growth. His works helped to understand the behaviour of economic cycles and described an economic cycle of 15-25 years known as the Kuznets Swing.

Kuznets developed a series of empirical studies using statistic models that supported J.M. Keynes ideas initially, but then redesigned his studies in order to analyse a longer period of time, and his conclusions differed from the previous ones.

Other studies by Kuznets deal with inequality in wealth distribution. As the Kuznets’ curve shows, inequality increases in the short term of economic growth, but it ends up decreasing in the long term. He frequently expressed his opinion that GDP per capita was not an accurate measure of welfare.

In 1940 he stated that the US economy was not working at its full capacity and was one of the designers of the Victory Plan in order to maximize the war economy during World War II.