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Wassily Leontief

Wassily Leontief (August 5, 1906 - February 5, 1999), born at St. Petersburg (Leningrad), USSR (now Russia), was an economist notable for his research on how changes in one economic sector may have an effect on other sectors. Leontief won a Nobel Prize in 1973.



Early Life

Wassily Leontief, the son of Wassily W. Leontief (professor of Economics) and Eugenia, entered the University of Leningrad in present day St. Petersburg in 1921. He earned his Learned Economist degree (equivalent to Master of Arts) in 1925 at the age of 15.

Opposition to Communism

He was arrested several times because of his opposition to Communism.

In 1925 he was allowed to leave the USSR, so he continued his studies at the University of Berlin ([1]) and in 1929 he earned a Ph.D. degree in Economics with a speciality in Input-Output Analysis and Economics.

Early Professional Life

From 1927 to 1930 he worked at the Institute for World Economics of the University of Kiel ([2]). There he researched the derivation of statistical demand and supply curves. In 1929 he travelled to China to assist the Ministry of Railroads as an advisor.

In 1931 he went to the USA, and was employed by the National Bureau of Economic Research ([3]).

Marriage and Affiliation with Harvard

In 1932 Leontief married the poet Estelle Marks . Their only child, Svetlana Leontief Alpers , was born in 1936.

Harvard University ([4]) employed him in the same year (1932) in its Department of Economics ([5]), and in 1946 he became a professor of Economics.

Leontief set up the Harvard Economic Research Project in 1948 and remained its director until 1973. Starting in 1965 he chaired the Harvard Society of Fellows.


Leontief died in New York City, New York, USA, on Friday, February 5, 1999 at the age of 93.


It is known that he enjoyed trout fishing, ballet, and fine wines.


  • 1941: Structure of the American Economy, 1919-1929
  • 1953: Studies in the Structure of the American Economy
  • 1966: Input-Output Economics
  • 1966: Essays in Economics
  • 1977: Essays in Economics, II
  • 1977: The Future of the World Economy
  • 1983: Military Spending: Facts and Figures, Worldwide Implications and Future Outlook co-authed with F. Duchin.
  • 1983: The Future of Non-Fuel Minerals in the U. S. And World Economy co-authed with J. Koo, S. Nasar and I. Sohn
  • 1986: The Future Impact of Automation on Workers co-authed with F. Dochin



See also

External links

Last updated: 11-03-2004 15:46:28