Theodore William Schultz

Theodore William Schultz
(1902 - 1998)

American economist whose influential studies of the role of "human capital"--education, talent, energy, and will--in economic development won him a share (with Sir Arthur Lewis) of the 1979 Nobel Prize for Economics.
Schultz graduated from South Dakota State College in 1927 and took his Ph.D. in 1930 at the University of Wisconsin, where he was much influenced by John R. Commons and other unorthodox thinkers. He taught at Iowa State College from 1930 to 1943 and at the University of Chicago from 1943 to 1972. He was head of the economics department at Chicago from 1946 to 1961.

Schultz's view of economic development was grounded in the conviction that agricultural development is the indispensable precondition to industrialization. In applying classical economic analysis to agriculture in poor countries, he proposed that human capital could be studied in the same terms commonly applied to capital in the usual sense. The result was a theory of investment in and returns from human capital as the wellspring of development and as the only genuine solution to the problem of poverty.

Among his publications were Agriculture in an Unstable Economy (1945), The Economic Value of Education (1963), Economic Growth and Agriculture (1968), Investment in Human Capital (1971), and Investing in People: The Economics of Population Quality (1981).

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