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Berlin Period

Apparently in the beginning Leontief was not intended to leave the country forever. The question was where he will be able to realize his skills and talents. We have to admit that Europe met his relatively coldly. Appeared in Berlin, Leontief found out that to enter the PhD course he had to pass exams in Greek and Latin, both of this languages back in soviet Union were considered as “dead languages” and were not thought.   But actually Leontief overcame this difficulties and became a doctorate of Berlin University. The theme of his dissertation was research of national economy as a continuous process. 

In Germany Leontief published the paper on USSR national economy balance for 1923-24 where the unique matrix of input- output analysis was used for the first time. That was the beginning of the strong scientific thoughts. Strangely enough the paper was immediately reprinted (with many censorious remarks) in the magazine Planned Economy (Moscow), the first and the last time. Meanwhile, the 19-year-old scientist kept on successful scientific researching in the University of Berlin.

His father, professor Wassily Leontief-senior, still being a financial expert of the Soviet Embassy in Germany, would help him.    And eventually he also chose emigration.

Leontief obtained his PhD at the age of 22 for the works under economic flows cycles. In 1927 again in German, his work “Theory and Statistic Description of Concentration” is published. Still a student he began his professional career as an economist-researcher of the Institute of World Economics at the University of Kiel in 1927-1928. Simultaneously he continued his work on the dissertation and becomes a doctor of science in 1928. The life was getting straight but in Europe there appeared the signs of coming crisis. The life was getting expensive, and Leontief still was an emigrant, even baring the PhD title, living a salary of a junior assistant. He had to make a really decisive dead to rise his career on a new quality level.  And, the occasion for that occurred.

«Wassily Leontief and his German period» - Harald Hagemann, Universitat Hohenheim

 

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