Theodore W. Schultz

DEFINITION of 'Theodore W. Schultz'

An agricultural economist who won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1979, along with William Arthur Lewis, for his research in development economics. Schultz researched the economic behavior of rural populations and showed how government policy in poor countries could perpetuate rural poverty. He also helped to develop the idea of human capital.


He authored and edited numerous books on agriculture and on education.

BREAKING DOWN 'Theodore W. Schultz'

Schultz was born in 1902 in South Dakota. He earned his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin and taught economics at Iowa State University until an academic censorship debate compelled him to leave. He then taught agricultural economics at the University of Chicago for more than 50 years.


Among his numerous other honors and distinctions, Schultz was president of the American Economic Association, member of the National Academy of Sciences, fellow of the American Farm Economic Association, founding member of the National Academy of Education and board member and vice president of the National Bureau of Economic Research. He died in 1998.

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