Albert O. Hirschman

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Albert O. Hirschman or Albert Otto Hirschman is an influential liberal economist who has authored several books on political economy and political ideology. Among his most important contributions were two simple but intellectually powerful schemata. The first describes the three basic possible responses to decline in firms or polities: loyalty, voice and exit. The second describes the basic arguments made by conservatives: perversity, futility and jeopardy.

Hirschman was born in Berlin, Germany on April 7, 1915, the son of Carl and Hedwig Marcuse Hirschman. He was educated at the Sorbonne, the London School of Economics and the University of Trieste, from which he received his doctorate in economics in 1938. A Rockefeller Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley (1941-1943), he served in the United States Army (1943-1946), was appointed Chief of the Western European and British Commonwealth Section of the Federal Reserve Board (1946-1952), served as a financial advisor to the National Planning Board of Colombia (1952-1954) and then became a private economic counselor in Bogota (1954-1956). Following that he held a succession of academic appointments in economics at Yale University (1956-1958), Columbia University (1958-1964), Harvard University(1964-1974) and the Institute for Advanced Study (1974- ).


  • Albert O. Hirschman. 1970. Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674276604 (paper).
  • Albert O. Hirschman. 1991. The Rhetoric of Reaction: Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674768671 (cloth) and ISBN 067476868X (paper).

Schema Based Articles

  • Shu-Yun Ma. "The Exit, Voice, and Struggle to Return of Chinese Political Exiles," Pacific Affairs. Vol. 66, No. 3. (Autumn 1993) Pp. 368-385.
  • Michael Laver. "Exit, Voice, and Loyalty revisited: The Strategic Production and Consumption of Public and Private Goods," British Journal of Political Science. Vol. 6. (Oct. 1976). Pp. 463-482.

External links