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SOLOW, ROBERT M. Print E-mail

Robert Solow's Mug ShotNobel Laureate in Economic Sciences 1987
W. Edwards Deming Professor, New York University, USA
Institute Professor - Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA

reason for the prize:

for his contribution to the theory of economic growth


Main Topics: economic growth and technological change; ICT impact on macroeconomics

Professional Profile: Robert Solow won a scholarship to Harvard College, but, by the end of 1942, he left University and joined the US Army. He served briefly in North Africa and Sicily and from the beginning to the end of the war in Italy.
Returned to Harvard, in 1945, he studied Economics with Wassily Leontiev and in 1949/50 spent a fellowship year at Columbia University working on his Ph.D. thesis, an exploratory attempt to model changes in size distribution of wage income using interacting Markoff processes for employment-unemployment and wage rates. The thesis was awarded the Wells Prize at Harvard.
Then, in 1950, he accepted Assistant Professorship in the Economic Department at MIT. As Professor Solow said, he has "never had or wanted any other job". He was given the office next to Paul Samuelson's with whom he formed the core of the MIT Economics Department which has been widely viewed as the "mainstream" of the post-war period.
Solow also held several governmental positions, including those of senior economist for the Council of Economic Advisers (1961-1962) and member of the President's Commission on Income Maintenance (1968-1970). He was President of the American Economic Association in 1979. In 1987 Professor Solow was awarded the Nobel prize for "his contribution to the theory of economic growth" and his first major paper on growth was A Contribution to the Theory of Growth (first published in 1956).
The study of the factors which permit production growth and increased welfare has been a central feature in economic research for many years and the Solow's contibutions have been exceptional.
He had also won the John Bates Clark Award in 1961, which is given to the best economist under the age of forty.


  • B.A., Harvard University, 1947
  • M.A., Harvard University, 1949
  • Ph.D., Harvard University, 1951



Selected Works:
  • R. M. Solow, The New Industrial State or Son of Affluence, The Public Interest, Autunno 1967, p. 108
  • R. M. Solow, Capital Theory and the Rate of Return, 1963
  • R. M. Solow, Linear Programming and Economic Analysis, with Robert Dorman and Paul Dorman Samuelson, 1958
  • R. M. Solow, Technical Change and the Aggregate Production Function, Review of Economics and Statistics 39, August 1957, p. 312-320
  • R. M. Solow, A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth, Quarterly Journal of Economics 70, February 1956, p. 65-94