Profile Major Works Resources

Alvin S. Johnson, 1874-1971

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Nebraska-born economist, Alvin Saunders Johnson was trained under E.R.A. Seligman and John Bates Clark at Columbia, acquiring his doctorate in 1901.  Johnson was, for a while, Clark's personal secretary and heir apparent at Columbia.  Although Johnson had been trained as a thorough Neoclassical, he was not opposed to the Institutionalist approach.  Nonetheless, Jacob Viner would comment that "For England, Wicksteed, and for the United States, Alvin Johnson (and Fetter?) appear to be the sole surviving upholders of the original Austrian position." (Viner, 1925: p.371). 

After teaching at Columbia for a number of years, Johnson moved to the University of Nebraska in 1906, then on to the University of Texas at Austin in 1907, the University of Chicago in 1909, Stanford in 1911 and then Cornell in 1912 (where he was Frank Knight's teacher).  After taking leave from academia to work as editor of the New Republic, Johnson took up another appointment at Stanford, only to leave again in 1917 to work on the wartime Council of National Defense in Washington D.C.  

In 1918, Alvin S. Johnson helped found the New School for Social Research in New York.  He took over as director in 1922 and guided the fledgling institution for the next few decades.   In the 1920s, Alvin Johnson worked with E.R.A. Seligman on editing the massive Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences.  In the 1930s and 1940s, as the Fascist and Nazi specter cast its darkness over Europe, Johnson worked overtime to saving numerous Central European scholars from persecution, bringing them to the  "University in Exile", an especially-created division of the New School.  Johnson retired in 1945.



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Major works of Alvin S. Johnson

  • Rent in Modern Economic Theory: an essay in distribution, 1903. [bk, av] [Pub AEA, p.873]
  • "The Effect of Labor-Saving Devices Upon Wages", 1905, QJE
  • "Influences Affecting the Development of Thrift", 1907, PSQ
  • Introductory Economics,  1907 [bk, av]
  • "The Relation of Monopoly Price to the Rate of Interest", 1908, QJE
  • "Protection and the Formation of Capital", 1908, PSQ
  • Introduction to Economics, 1909 [bk, av] [1922 ed]
  • "Review of Hobson's Industrial System", 1911, AER
  • "Review of Hobson's Science of Wealth", 1912, AER
  • An Ethical Aspect of New Industrialism, 1912
  • "Review of B÷hm-Bawerk's Positive Theorie des Kapitales", 1914, AER (Mar),  p.113 [js]
  • "Review of Adler's Kapitalzins und Preisbewegung", 1914, AER
  • "The Case Against the Single Tax", 1914, Atlantic Monthly
  • "The Soul of Capitalism", 1914, Unpopular Review
  • "Unsocial Investments", 1914, Unpopular Review
  • War and the Interests of Labor, 1914.
  • The Professor and the Petticoat, 1914 [av]
  • "The War", 1914, Unpopular Review
  • "Commerce and War", 1914, PSQ  [in IC, bk]
  • "An Endowment for the State", 1915, Atlantic Monthly
  • "Review of Carver's Essays in Social Justice and Hollander's Abolition of Poverty" 1916, AER (Jun), p.347 [js]
  • John Stuyvesant Ancestor, and other people, 1919 [bk, av]
  • "The Promotion of Thrift in America", 1920, AAPSS [av]
  • "The Farmer's Indemnity", Hollander, editor, Economic Essays Contributed in Honor of John Bates Clark
  • Editor, Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, 1930.
  • Deliver Us from Dogma, 1934
  • Spring Storm, 1936
  • "The Rising Tide of Anti-Semitism", 1939, Survey Graphic
  • The Clock of History, 1946.
  • Socialism in Western Europe, 1948.
  • "The Faith of a Skeptic", 1949, in Chase, editor, Years of the Modern.
  • Pioneer's Progress: An autobiography, 1952.
  • Essays in Social Economics, 1954.

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Resources on Alvin S. Johnson

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