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Chicago. Readings for Marschak’s course on statistical applications to economics, 1946



Another jewel in the Norman M. Kaplan papers at the University of Chicago Archives are his notes from Jacob Marschak’s course “Applications of Statistics to Economics”. In this posting I have only transcribed the reading lists for the course, there is of course much more course content in Kaplan’s notes. 

A Biographical Memoir was written by Kenneth Arrow and published by the National Academy of Sciences.


Course Announcement

  1. Applications of Statistics to Economics. Statistical testing of economic theories. Numerical estimation of demand and cost functions and other functions occurring in the theory of the firm and household, the theory of markets and the theory of national income. Estimation of economic models. Statistical prediction under conditions of changing economic structure and policy. Prereq: Econ 211, 301 or equiv. Aut: TuTh 3-5; Marschak.


Source:   University of Chicago. Announcements (Vol. XLVI, Number 4: May 15, 1946). The College and the Divisions, Sessions of 1946-1947, p. 222.


First Course Reading List

ECONOMICS 314. Autumn 1946.

Recommended Readings    (First Installment)

(The material is arranged in the order of the lectures during which it is mentioned for the first time)


M. Ezekiel. Methods of correlation analysis. 1941. [Useful for first orientation and for practice. Does not give adequate account of (a) fundamentals of statistical logic; (b) peculiarities of statistical economics.]

T.C. Schelling. Raise profits by raising wages? Econometrica 1946, pp. 227-234. [Good formulation of a policy problem, inserting plausible numerical values of economic parameters.]

Henry Schultz. Theory and measurement of demand. 1938 [See in particular (a) the historical parts concerning Gregory King, Jerome Marshall, Letfeldt, H. L. Moore; (b) shifts of demand and supply curves treated on pp. 72-83.]

A.C. Pigou. Economics of Welfare, Appendix II, §1 (and footnote on Moore).

Elmer Working. What do statistical demand curves show? Quarterly Journal of Economics. 1927.

Ragnar Frisch. Pitfalls in the Statistical Analysis of Demand and Supply Curves. 1933.

Ragnar Frisch and B. D. Mudgett. Statistical correlation and the theory of cluster types, Journal of American Stat. Ass. 1931. [read pp. 375-381 only.]

L. Klein. Pitfalls in the statistical determination of the investment schedule. Ecometrica 1943, pp. 240-258.

J. R. Hicks. Mr. Keynes and the Classics, Econometrica. 1937.

J. Tinbergen. Statistical Testing of Business Cycle Theories, Vol. II: Business fluctuations in U.S.A. 1919-1932. League of Nations. Geneva 1937.

Paul Douglas. The Theory of Wages. 1934.

J. Marschak and W. Andrews. Random simultaneous equations and the theory of production. Econometrica 1944. (Read also the articles of Reder and of Bronfenbrenner treated in appendix 2 of the article).


Second Course Reading List

ECONOMICS 314     Fall 1946.

BIBLIOGRAPHY, Second Installment

Production and Cost Functions.

J. Tintner. A note on the derivation of production functions from farm records. Econometrica, 1944.

Joel Dean. The Relation of Cost to Output for a Leather Belt Shop. National Bureau of Economic Research, 1941.

Joel Dean. Statistical Cost Functions of a Hosiery Mill. Journal of Business, 1941. The University of Chicago. 1941.

Joel Dean. Articles on Cost Functions in the Journal of Business, 1936, 1941, 1942.

U.S. Steel Corporation. Pamphlets and Charts submitted to the Temporary National Economic Committee; esp. Volume I Pamphlets No. 5 and No. 7, 1940.

Ragnar Frisch. The Principle of Substitution. An example of its application in the chocolate industry. Nordisk Tidskrift for Tenisk Økonomi. September 1935.

R.G.D. Allen. Mathematical Analysis for Economists. 1930. Look up the index to locate numerous references and exercises to the problem of cost and production functions.

Family Budgets and Demand Functions.

National Resources Planning Board. Consumer Expenditures 1935-1936. Washington 1939.

Allen, R. G. D., and Bowley. Family Expenditure, A Study of its variation. 1935.

J. Marschak. Personal and Collective Budget Functions. Review of Economic Statistics. 1939.

J. Marschak. Money Illusion and Demand Analysis. Review of Economic Statistics. 1943.

H. Staehle. Relative Prices and Postwar Mariets for Annual Food Products. Quarterly. Journal of Economics. February 1945.


[Handwritten note on back: “Lange’s Price Flexibility & Haavelmo’s Probability Approach available for sale at Cowles Comm.?”]


Marschak’s questionnaire for students taking course

By filling out this questionnaire, you will enable the instructor to adjust the course Economics 314 to the prevailing level of the students.

U. of C. Courses
(Dept. and No.)
Other Courses Other Training
or Experience
Economics, theoretical
Economics, descriptive
Theory of Statistics

Further relevant information on previous training:


Name three problems to exemplify the application of Statistics to Economics



Source: University of Chicago Archives. Norman M. Kaplan Papers, Box 3, Folder 3.

Image Source:  Portrait of Jacob Marschak in the Biographical Memoir “Jacob Marschak, 1898-1977” written for the National Academy of Sciences by Kenneth Arrow (1991).


Irwin Collier

Posted by: Irwin Collier