Thomas Nixon Carver

Thomas Nixon Carver (25 March 1865 – 8 March 1961) was an American economics professor.

Thomas Nixon Carver
Thomas Nixon Carver, by J.E. Purdy
Born(1865-03-25)March 25, 1865
DiedMarch 8, 1961(1961-03-08) (aged 95)
InstitutionOberlin College
Harvard University
School or
Neoclassical economics
Alma materCornell University
Walter Francis Willcox
Albert B. Wolfe

Early life

He grew up on a farm, the son of Quaker parents.[1] He received an undergraduate education at Iowa Wesleyan College and the University of Southern California. After studying under John Bates Clark and Richard T. Ely at Johns Hopkins University, he received a Ph.D. degree at Cornell University under Walter Francis Willcox in 1894.[2]


He held a joint appointment in economics and sociology at Oberlin College until 1902, when he accepted a position as professor of political economy at Harvard University (1902–1935). For a time, there he taught the only course in sociology. He was the secretary-treasurer of the American Economic Association (1909–1913) and was elected its President in 1916.[3]

Carver's principal achievement in economic theory was to extend Clark's theory of marginalism to determination of interest from saving ('abstinence') and productivity of capital.[4] He made pioneering contributions to agricultural and rural economics and in rural sociology.[3][5] He wrote on such diverse topics as monetary economics,[6] macroeconomics,[7] the distribution of wealth,[8] the problem of evil,[9] uses of religion,[10] political science,[11] political economy,[12] social justice,[13] behavioral economics,[14] social evolution,[15] and the economics of national survival.[16]



  • (1893). The Place of Abstinence in the Theory of Interest.
  • (1894). The Theory of Wages Adjusted to Recent Theories of Value.
  • (1904). The Distribution of Wealth.
  • (1905). Sociology and Social Progress.
  • (1910). Rural Economy as a Factor in the Success of the Church.
  • (1911). Principles of Rural Economics.
  • (1911). The Religion Worth Having.
  • (1915). Essays in Social Justice.
  • (1916). Selected Readings in Rural Economics.
  • (1916). Selected Writings in Rural Economics.
  • (1917). The Foundations of National Prosperity.
  • (1918). Agricultural Economics.
  • (1919). Government Control of the Liquor Business in Great Britain and the United States.
  • (1919). Principles of Political Economy.
  • (1919). War Thrift.
  • (1920). Elementary Economics [with Maude Carmichael].
  • (1921). Principles of National Economy.
  • (1923). Human Relations: An Introduction to Sociology [with Henry Bass Hall].
  • (1924). The Economy of Human Energy.
  • (1925). The Present Economic Revolution in the United States.
  • (1927). Principles of Rural Sociology [with Gustav A. Lundquist].
  • (1928). Economic World and How It May Be Improved [with Hugh W. Lester].
  • (1932). Our Economic Life.
  • (1935). The Essential Factors of Social Evolution.
  • (1949). Recollections of an Unplanned Life.

Sole author journal articles

  • Carver, T. N. (1895). "The Ethical Basis of Distribution and Its Bearings on Taxation." Publications of the American Economic Association. 3, 96. ISSN 1049-7498.
  • Carver, T. N. (1902.) "The Economic Interpretation of History." Journal Of Political Economy no. 1: 93. ISSN 0022-3808.
  • Carver, T.N.. (1905.) "The Marginal Theory of Distribution." Journal Of Political Economy no. 2: 257. ISSN 0022-3808.
  • Carver, T. N. (1913). Reviewed work: Economic Beginnings of the Far West. How We Won the Land Beyond the Mississippi, by Katharine Coman. The American Economic Review 3, no. 2: 353-55.
  • Carver, T. N. (1914). "The Work of Rural Organization." Journal of Political Economy 22, no. 9: 821-44.

Carver also co-wrote a number of journal articles, presided over conference presentations, and published in conference proceedings.[17]


  1. Thomas Nixon Carver, 1949. Recollections of an Unplanned Life. "Excerpt". Archived from the original on 27 October 2009. Retrieved 26 September 2013.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link).
  2. Elliott, Clark A.; Rossiter, Margaret W. (1992). Science at Harvard University: Historical Perspectives. Lehigh University Press. p. 199.
  3. A.W. Coats, 1987. "Carver, Thomas Nixon," The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics, v. 1, pp. 374–75.
  4. T.N. Carver, 1893. "The Place of Abstinence in the Theory of Interest," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 8(1), pp. 40–61.
       _____, 1903. "The Relation of Abstinence to Interest," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 18(1), p p. 142–145.
  5. Thomas Nixon Carver, 1911. Principles of Rural Economics. Chapter links, pp. vii–x.
  6. T. N. Carver, 1897. "The Value of the Money Unit," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 11(4), pp. 429–435.
  7. • 1903. "A Suggestion for a Theory of Industrial Depressions," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 17(3), pp. 497–500. Reprinted in Carver, 1919, Principles of Political Economy, pp. 335–37.
       1921. Principles of National Economy, Chapter links, v–vi.
  8. Thomas Nixon Carver, 1904. The Distribution of Wealth. Chapter links.
  9. 1908. "The Economic Basis of the Problem of Evil," Harvard Theological Review, 1(1), pp. 97111.
  10. 1912. The Religion Worth Having. Chapter links.
  11. 1914. "Political Science, I. General Introduction" in William Allan Neilson, ed., Lectures on the Harvard Classics, v. 51 of 51, pp. 328–346.
  12. • 1919. Principles of Political Economy. Chapter links, pp. viiix.
       1960. "A Conservative's Ideas on Economic Reform," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 74(4), pp. 536–542.
  13. 1915. Essays in Social Justice. Chapter links.
  14. T.N. Carver, 1918. "The Behavioristic Man," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 33(1), pp. 195–201.
  15. Thomas Nixon Carver, 1935. The Essential Factors of Social Evolution. Chapter links, pp. ix–xi.
  16. 1917. "The National Point of View in Economics," American Economic Review, 7(1, Supplement), pp. 3–17. Presidential address, American Economic Association.
  17. Carver, T. N. 1908. "Agricultural Economics. Round Table Discussion: T. N. Carver, Chairman." American Economic Association Quarterly, 3rd Series, 9, no. 1: 59-82.
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