The Stockholm School of Economics was founded in 1909 on private initiative as a response to rapid industrialization and a growing need for well educated businessmen and company managers and has maintained close ties with the business community ever since. The foundation followed a substantial donation in 1903 by Knut Agathon Wallenberg. The name handelshögskola (roughly "college of commerce") was a parallel to the German term Handelshochschule, used by a number of German institutions started in the years before, commencing with Handelshochschule Leipzig in 1898. The term högskola was at this time also established for specialised higher educational institutions outside the universities, such as the Royal Institute of Technology, (Kungliga) Tekniska högskolan, which bore that name from 1877.
While founded as a business school, the subject of economics featured prominently in the research and curriculum of the school from the beginning.
The most well known scholars of the Stockholm School of Economics are arguably the economists Eli Heckscher (professor of economics and statistics 1909–1929, professor of economic history 1929–1945), Gunnar Myrdal and Bertil Ohlin (professors of economics). Heckscher is also known as the founder of economic history as an independent academic discipline and his work Svenskt Arbete och Liv is a fundamental work within this subject.
Ohlin was also a leading figure within the school of doctrine with the same name, the so-called Stockholm school; a group of leading Scandinavian economists influenced by Knut Wicksell, most of them active in Stockholm, either at the Stockholm School of Economics or the Stockholm University College. This school of doctrine was to have a profound influence on post-WWII Swedish economic policy and the development of the modern Scandinavian Welfare state. Heckscher and Ohlin jointly developed the so called Heckscher-Ohlin theory, the standard international mathematical model of international trade. Gunnar Myrdal received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1974 (shared with his ideological nemesis, Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek); Bertil Ohlin received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1977 (shared with British economist James Meade). Other prominent members of the Stockholm school were the Stockholm University professor Gustav Cassel, who developed standard economic theory of Purchasing power parity and economist Dag Hammarskjöld, general secretary of the United Nations in New York city, USA.
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