The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Viner, Jacob (1892–1970)

  • Henry W. Spiegel
Reference work entry


Jacob Viner, the economic theorist and historian of economic thought, was born and raised in Montreal, the son of immigrant parents from eastern Europe. As an undergraduate he attended McGill University, where he was taught economics by Stephen Leacock, the famous humorist. Leacock used texts by Mill and Walker, Milk and Water, as the students referred to them, showing ‘good judgment’ according to an account that Viner gave later in life. For graduate work he went to Harvard, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1922. He was a student and eventually became a close friend of Frank W. Taussig, the well-known authority on economic theory and international economics. At that time and during the earlier part of Viner’s career he and Taussig were rare specimens in what was, except for a very few others, essentially a ‘wasp’ establishment. But in other respects their background was quite different. Viner was a self-made man who had emancipated himself from the immigrant quarter of Montreal, while Taussig was born into a patrician family with wealth and native culture.


Bentham, J. Chicago school, Cost theory Dumping Economic development Envelope curve History of economic thought International trade theory Kinked demand curve Knight, F. H. Marshall, A. Mill, J. S. Monopolistic competition Partial equilibrium Religion and economics Taussig, F. W. Trade creation Trade diversion Utilitarianism Viner, J. 

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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry W. Spiegel
    • 1
  1. 1.