Irving Fisher

Irving Fisher (February 27, 1867 – April 29, 1947)[1] was an American economist, statistician, inventor, eugenicist and progressive social campaigner. He was one of the earliest American neoclassical economists, though his later work on debt deflation has been embraced by the post-Keynesian school.[2] Joseph Schumpeter described him as "the greatest economist the United States has ever produced",[3] an assessment later repeated by James Tobin[4] and Milton Friedman.[5]

Irving Fisher
Fisher in 1927
Born(1867-02-27)February 27, 1867
DiedApril 29, 1947(1947-04-29) (aged 80)
NationalityUnited States
Spouse(s)
Margaret Hazard
(m. 1893; died 1940)
FieldMathematical economics
School or
tradition
Neoclassical economics
Alma materYale University (BA) (PhD)
Doctoral
advisor
Josiah Willard Gibbs
William Graham Sumner
InfluencesWilliam Stanley Jevons, Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk
ContributionsFisher equation
Equation of exchange
Price index
Debt deflation
Phillips curve
Money illusion
Fisher separation theorem
Independent Party of Connecticut

Fisher made important contributions to utility theory and general equilibrium.[6][7] He was also a pioneer in the rigorous study of intertemporal choice in markets, which led him to develop a theory of capital and interest rates.[4] His research on the quantity theory of money inaugurated the school of macroeconomic thought known as "monetarism".[8] Fisher was also a pioneer of econometrics, including the development of index numbers. Some concepts named after him include the Fisher equation, the Fisher hypothesis, the international Fisher effect, the Fisher separation theorem and Fisher market.

Fisher was perhaps the first celebrity economist, but his reputation during his lifetime was irreparably harmed by his public statement, just nine days before the Wall Street Crash of 1929, that the stock market had reached "a permanently high plateau". His subsequent theory of debt deflation as an explanation of the Great Depression, as well as his advocacy of full-reserve banking and alternative currencies, were largely ignored in favor of the work of John Maynard Keynes.[4] Fisher's reputation has since recovered in academic economics, particularly after his theoretical models were rediscovered in the late 1960s to the 1970s, a period of increasing reliance on mathematical models within the field.[4][9][10] Interest in him has also grown in the public due to an increased interest in debt deflation after the Great Recession.[11]

Fisher was one of the foremost proponents of the full-reserve banking, which he advocated as one of the authors of A Program for Monetary Reform where the general proposal is outlined.[12][13]