Gunnar Myrdal

DEFINITION of 'Gunnar Myrdal'

A Swedish economist, sociologist and politician who won the 1974 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, along with Friedrich Hayek, for his application of economics to social, demographic and institutional problems. Gunnar Myrdal's research focused on economic theory, applied economics, social problems and developmental economics.

BREAKING DOWN 'Gunnar Myrdal'

Myrdal was born in 1898 in Sweden and died in 1987. He earned his law degree and doctorate in economics from the University of Stockholm, where he later became a professor of political and international economy. Myrdal became famous for his 1944 book, "An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem In Modern Democracy", which criticized the separate but equal doctrine and contributed to the end of legal racial segregation in schools. He also showed how economic policies implemented by FDR, including the minimum wage law and restrictions on cotton production, hurt African Americans. Myrdal's other well-known books explored the problem of economic development in Southern Asia and the declining birth rate in Sweden.

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