Alvin Hansen - Early Years, Education, and Professional Career

Early Years, Education, and Professional Career

Hansen was born to Danish immigrant parents at Viborg, South Dakota on the South Dakota frontier. After an English degree at Yankton College, he took his PhD in economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1918. He worked with institutionalists John R. Commons and Richard T. Ely, but did not adopt their approach. After his doctorate, Hansen taught at Brown University until his appointment at the University of Minnesota in 1923, where he specialized in business cycles. He consulted frequently in Washington and helped Edwin E. Witte to help draft the Social Security Act of 1935. In 1937 Hansen was appointed Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Political Economy at Harvard University.

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