The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Konüs, Alexander Alexandrovich (Born 1895)

  • W. E. Diewert
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-349-95189-5_797

Abstract

Konüs was born in Moscow on 2 October 1895. During the war years 1914–17, he served in the army and was wounded twice. In 1920, he graduated from the Cooperative Institute in Moscow as a statistician. During the years 1923–30, he worked in the price index section of the Business Cycle (Conjecture) Institute directed by N.D. Kondratiev and had E.E. Slutsky as a colleague. During the years 1931–45, he taught statistics and undertook analyses of the quality of metal production. In 1945–60, Konüs worked at various research institutes including the Research Institute of Communication. From 1960 to 1982, he was at the Institute of Economic Research in Moscow. He has written over 100 research papers in index number theory, consumer demand, the labour theory of value, statistics and probability theory.

Konüs was born in Moscow on 2 October 1895. During the war years 1914–17, he served in the army and was wounded twice. In 1920, he graduated from the Cooperative Institute in Moscow as a statistician. During the years 1923–30, he worked in the price index section of the Business Cycle (Conjecture) Institute directed by N.D. Kondratiev and had E.E. Slutsky as a colleague. During the years 1931–45, he taught statistics and undertook analyses of the quality of metal production. In 1945–60, Konüs worked at various research institutes including the Research Institute of Communication. From 1960 to 1982, he was at the Institute of Economic Research in Moscow. He has written over 100 research papers in index number theory, consumer demand, the labour theory of value, statistics and probability theory.

Konüs has made a number of fundamental contributions. In his 1924 paper, he established a revealed preference theory result, he provided the definition of a consumer’s true cost of living index as a ratio of cost functions evaluated at different prices but at the same utility level, and he showed that there exists a utility level between the base and current period utility levels such that the true cost of living index evaluated at this intermediate utility level lies between the Paasche and Laspeyres price indexes.

In his 1926 paper written jointly with Buscheguennce, the idea that preferences can be represented dually in terms of tangential coordinates (i.e. in terms of prices and income instead of quantities) was made, the indirect utility function was introduced and a homogenous quadratic utility function was shown to be exact for Irving Fisher’s ideal index number formula. This is a truly remarkable paper which was well ahead of its time.

The best English language discussion of his later work on consumer demand and index number theory is Konüs (1968).

Selected Works

  • 1924. The problem of the true index of the cost of living. Translated in Econometrica 7: 10–29. 1939.

  • 1926. (With S.S. Buscheguennce [Byushgens]). K probleme pokupatelnoi cili deneg (On the problem of the purchasing power of money). Voprosi Konyunkturi 2: 151–172.

  • 1968. The theory of the consumer price indexes and the problem of the comparison of the cost of living in time and space. In The social sciences: Problems and orientations, 93–107, Paris: Unesco.

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. E. Diewert
    • 1
  1. 1.