Ragnar Frisch


Ragnar Frisch

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Ragnar Frisch
The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 1969

Born: 3 March 1895, Oslo, Norway

Died: 31 January 1973, Oslo, Norway

Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

Prize motivation: “for having developed and applied dynamic models for the analysis of economic processes”

Prize share: 1/2


Ragnar Frisch was born in Oslo, the son of a goldsmith, and he trained as a smith apprentice. His mother thought he should attend the university, and they chose economics as a subject because it seemed the shortest and easiest. After graduating in 1919, he studied economics and mathematics abroad for several years. He received his doctor’s degree in mathematical statistics in Oslo in 1926 and later became a professor. He married twice and had one daughter. Frisch’s hobby was beekeeping, something he described as an obsession.


Ragnar Frisch, along with Jan Tinbergen, pioneered development of mathematical formulations of economics. He coined the term econometrics for studies in which he used statistical methods to describe economic systems. He is best known for his contributions to dynamic economic modeling, and in 1933 he presented the first mathematical economic model that could describe fluctuations in the business cycle. His later work concerned models for economic planning.

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