James Duesenberry

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James Duesenberry
Born(1918-07-18)July 18, 1918
DiedOctober 5, 2009(2009-10-05) (aged 91)
NationalityUnited States
InstitutionHarvard University
Behavioral economics
School or
Neo-Keynesian economics
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
Arthur Smithies
Thomas Schelling
Edwin Kuh
John R. Meyer
Harry Gordon Johnson
InfluencesJohn Maynard Keynes
Michał Kalecki
John Hicks
Paul Samuelson
ContributionsRelative income hypothesis

James Stemble Duesenberry (July 18, 1918 – October 5, 2009[1]) was an American economist. He made a significant contribution to the Keynesian analysis of income and employment with his 1949 doctoral thesis Income, Saving and the Theory of Consumer Behavior. Kenneth Arrow believed that it offered "one of the most significant contributions of the postwar period to our understanding of economic behavior".[2] His theory, however, later disappeared from standard textbooks, although some, such as Robert H. Frank,[3] argue that it outperforms the alternative theories that displaced it in the 1950s.

Duesenberry attended the University of Michigan, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in 1939, his Master of Arts in 1941, and his Doctor of Philosophy in 1948. He served as professor of economics at Harvard University from 1955–1989.

Duesenberry served on the Council of Economic Advisers under President Lyndon Johnson from 1966-68.


  1. ^ http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/bostonglobe/obituary.aspx?n=james-stemble-duesenberry&pid=134117473
  2. ^ Mason, Roger (2000), "The Social Significance of Consumption: James Duesenberry's Contribution to Consumer Theory", Journal of Economic Issues, Association for Evolutionary Economics, 34 (3): 553–572, JSTOR 4227586
  3. ^ Frank, Robert H. (June 9, 2005), "The Mysterious Disappearance of James Duesenberry", New York Times

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