Simon Kuznets; Nobel Laureate in Economics

From Times Wire Services

Simon Kuznets, the 1971 Nobel Prize laureate in economics, died last week at his home. He was 84.

Kuznets, a professor emeritus at Harvard University, was responsible for developing methods by which nations could measure their national economies.

John Kenneth Galbraith, an economics professor at Harvard, said the concept of gross national product and other familiar components of modern economic analysis were the creation of his Russian-born colleague.

"Kuznets was perhaps the most influential . . . economist of our time," he said. "When we speak of gross national product, national income, their components and the policies pertaining thereto, it is the structure created by Kuznets that we address."

'Giant in Economics'

"Simon Kuznets was a giant in 20th-Century economics," said Paul Samuelson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist who won the Nobel Prize for economics in 1970. "He was the founder of national income measurement, and he created quantitative economic history."

The Royal Swedish Academy of Science, presenting his Nobel Prize, said Kuznets' "empirically founded interpretation of economic growth . . . led to new and deepened insight into the economic and social structure and process of development."

Before his work, many economists used theory and neglected economic data to develop conclusions.

Work Aided Others

Kuznets' "National Income and Its Composition, 1919 to 1931," published in 1941, helped economists develop accounting methods for national income. In his other work, he identified business cycles of 15 to 20 years as part of the rhythm of economic life.

Kuznets was born in Kharkov, Russia, in 1901. He emigrated to the United States in 1922 and attended Columbia University, earning his bachelor's degree in 1923, his master's in 1924 and his doctorate in 1926.

He taught for 24 years at the University of Pennsylvania, six years at Johns Hopkins University and 11 years at Harvard until his retirement in 1971.

Kuznets was associate director of the Bureau of Planning and Statistics of the War Production Board during World War II. He was on the staff of the National Bureau of Economic Research from 1927 to 1960.

Kuznets is survived by his wife, Edith; daughter, Judith Stein of Rochester, N.Y.; son, Paul, of Bloomington, Ind., and four grandchildren.

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