David Davidson, 1854-1942.

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David Davidson was one of the most prominent Swedish economists of the late 19th Century, building his base at Uppsala - where obained his doctorate and then went on, in 1901, to become Sweden's first economics professor.

In Uppsala, Davidson set up a new journal, Ekonomisk Tidskrift - later known as the Swedish Journal of Economics and still later as the Scandanavian Journal of Economics - which he edited almost singlehandedly in its early years and to which he contributed some 250 articles. With the journal, Davidson was arguably responsible for bringing economic theory to a Sweden previously dominated by German Historicism. Then, together with his rivals at Lund and Stockholm, Wicksell and Cassel respectively, Davidson took Swedish economics bursting onto the international scene.

His dissertation (1878) which although highly Classical, was also remarkably Austrian in several ways, but it was with his History of the Theory of Rent (1880) where he was to stake a claim on the economics: as the first Neo-Ricardian. Davidson was to become one of the most prominent scholars on Ricardo - even though Davidson had thought Classical and Neoclassical theory could be reconciled. His scathing criticism of Cassel (1919) was not an attack on the latter's Neoclassicism, but rather on his dismissal of marginal utility theory as such. He was more reluctant to endorse the theory of marginal productivity, entering into a brief controversy with Wicksell, to whom he finally conceded.

Another controversy with Wicksell was sparked over monetary theory - Davidson having developed a peculiar version of Ricardo's "objective" theory of money, although he was an opponent of the gold standard.

Besides Hekscher, Davidson produced no students interested in his peculiar amalgam of Ricardian and Marginalist theory. Perhaps his most lasting legacy was his work on public finance, in particular his exhortation of a progressive income tax and various other aspects upon which the "Swedish Model" has been based.

Major works of David Davidson

Resources on David Davidson

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