The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics

Ragnar Frisch

In 1969 Norwegian Ragnar Frisch, along with Dutch economist Jan Tinbergen, received the first Nobel Prize for economics. Frisch received his prize for his pioneering work in econometric modeling and measurement. Indeed, Frisch invented the word "econometrics" to refer to the use of mathematical and statistical techniques to test economic hypotheses. Frisch founded the Econometric Society in 1930.

Frisch believed that econometrics would help establish economics as a science. But toward the end of his life, he had doubts about how econometrics was being used. He wrote: "I have insisted that econometrics must have relevance to concrete realities—otherwise it degenerates into something which is not worthy of the name econometrics, but ought rather to be called playometrics."

In a paper on business cycles, Frisch was the first to use the word "microeconomics" to refer to the study of single firms and industries and "macroeconomics" to refer to the study of the aggregate economy.

Frisch spent most of his professional life at the University of Oslo in Norway.

Selected Works

"Annual Survey of General Economic Theory: The Problem of Index Numbers." Econometrica 4, no. 1 (January 1936): 1-38.

"Econometrics in the World of Today." In Induction, Growth and Trade; Essays in Honour of Sir Roy Harrod, edited by W. A. Eltis, M. F. Scott, and J. N. Wolfe. 1970.

"Propagation Problems and Impulse Problems in Dynamic Economics." In Economic Essays in Honor of Gustav Cassel. 1933. Reprinted in Readings in Business Cycles, edited by R. A. Gordon and L. R. Klein. 1966.

Statistical Confluence Analysis by Means of Complete Regression Systems. 1934.

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