The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Frisch, Ragnar Anton Kittel (1895–1973)

  • P. Nørregaard Rasmussen
Reference work entry


Frisch lived a long, varied and extremely productive life. He graduated in economics at the University of Oslo in 1919 (although as a son of a goldsmith he ‘supplemented’ this by finalizing his apprenticeship as a goldsmith in 1920!). He studied in France from 1921 to 1923 and in Britain in 1923; was an associate at the University of Oslo from 1925 and received his doctorate in 1926 in mathematical statistics (Frisch 1926a). Further studies abroad in the USA, France and Italy (1927–8) were followed by an associate professorship at the University of Oslo (1928) and a full professorship in 1931. Frisch was head of the (newly established) Institute of Economics in Oslo from 1932 to his retirement in 1965. He was also chief editor of Econometrica (1933–55), followed by his chairmanship of the editorial board. He was one of the founders (1930) and, in fact, the driving force behind the creation of the Econometric Society. He was a member of a number of national and international expert committees and adviser on several occasions to developing countries (India 1954–5 and Egypt several times over the years 1957–64). He received honorary doctorates from a number of universities (inter alia Stockholm, Copenhagen, Cambridge, Birmingham) and was – together with Jan Tinbergen – the first (1969) to receive the Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics. In addition he received (as the first recipient) the Schumpeter Prize (1955), the Feltrinelli Prize (1956) and three Festschriften. He was a visiting professor or guest lecturer to a number of universities – Yale, Minnesota, Paris, Pittsburgh, for example – and he was a very active participant at numerous international meetings of economists, statisticians and mathematicians. In the late 1940s there was a joke among Norwegian students that he was also a ‘visiting’ professor in Oslo. This was unfair. In particular during the 1930s he put a lot of effort into his teaching and was writing a series of lecture notes, most of them seminal, though many remained unpublished. The impressive list of his publications (Haavelmo 1973) and activities could be continued because he was a genius, cutting through problems like a warm knife through butter, and because his working power was extraordinary.


Acceleration principle Clark J. M. Demand analysis Econometric society Econometrics Frisch R. A. K. Input–output analysis Institute of Economics (Norway) Macroeconomics, theory of Marshall, A. Methodology of economics National accounting Production, theory of Statistics and economics 

JEL Classifications

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  1. Arrow, K.J. 1960. The work of Ragnar Frisch, econometrician. Econometrica 28: 175–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Edvardsen, K.N. 1970. A survey of Ragnar Frisch’s contributions to the science of economics. The Economist 118 (2): 174–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Edvardsen, K.N. 2001. Ragnar Frisch: An annotated bibliography. Report 4/2001. Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research, University of Oslo. Online. Available at Accessed 9 Nov 2006.
  4. Haavelmo, T. 1973. Minnetale over Professor, dr. philos. Ragnar Frisch. Arbokdel Norske Videnskabs-Akademi i Oslo.Google Scholar
  5. Johansen, L. 1969. Ragnar Frisch’s contributions to economics. The Swedish Journal of Economics 71 (4): 302–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Nørregaard Rasmussen
    • 1
  1. 1.