Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 4 No. 2 (Spring 1990)


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Distinguished Fellow: Houthakker's Contributions to Economics

Article Citation

Pollak, Robert A. 1990. "Distinguished Fellow: Houthakker's Contributions to Economics." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 4(2): 141-156.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.4.2.141


Hendrik Houthakker's contributions to economics defy capsule description. A better strategy than providing abstracts of the books and articles on his long and impressive vita is discussing one or two topics in detail, placing at least some of his contributions in perspective and discussing their relevance for current research. The first topic I have chosen, revealed preference, needs no justification. Houthakker made his professional reputation with his 1950 Economica article on revealed preference theory—the article that introduced the strong axiom of revealed preference. The second topic is the dynamics of demand, a more idiosyncratic choice which reflects both the importance of Houthakker's contributions and my own interests. The fact that such different topics could be chosen is, of course, testimony to the breadth and diversity of Houthakker's work. He is a fine and fitting choice as a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association.

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Pollak, Robert A. (U PA and U WA)

JEL Classifications

022: Microeconomic Theory--Theory of the Household (Consumer Demand
032: History of Economic Thought--Individuals


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