The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

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Nurkse, Ragnar (1907–1959)

  • Kaushik Basu
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Nurkse was born on 5 October 1907 on an estate where his father was an overseer, near the village of Viru in Estonia. His father was Estonian and his mother of Swedish origin. Ragnar Nurkse was educated in Tallinn, Tartu, Edinburgh and Vienna. From 1934 to 1945 he worked as an economist with the League of Nations and from 1945 until his death he was a professor at Columbia University. He wrote on international currency questions, trade, vicious circles of poverty and on balanced growth. In 1959 he delivered the Wicksell Lectures in Stockholm. Exhausted by the lectures, he went to Geneva and while taking a stroll on Mont Pèlerin he collapsed and died of a heart attack or stroke on 6 May 1959. The Wicksell Lectures were published posthumously (Nurkse 1961).


Balanced growth Development economics Full employment International policy coordination International trade Nurkse, R. Poverty traps 

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  1. Basu, K. 1984. The less developed economy: A critique of contemporary theory. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  2. Findlay, R.V. 1959. International specialisation and the concept of balanced growth: Comment. Quarterly Journal of Economics 73: 339–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Flemming, J.M. 1955. External economies and the doctrine of balanced growth. Economic Journal 65: 241–256.Google Scholar
  4. Haberler, G., and R.M. Stern, eds. 1961. Equilibrium and growth in the world economy: Economy essays by Ragnar Nurkse. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Rosenstein-Rodan, P.N. 1943. Problems of industrialization of Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. Economic Journal 53: 202–211.Google Scholar
  6. Young, A. 1928. Increasing returns and economic progress. Economic Journal 38: 527–542.Google Scholar

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© The Author(s) 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kaushik Basu
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