March 9, 1995
Vol. 14, No. 13

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    Obituary: Bert Hoselitz, Economics

    Bert Hoselitz (A.M.'46), Professor Emeritus in Economics and an expert on developing countries, died Feb. 14 at the Hospitals. He was 81.

    Hoselitz wrote broadly on many topics in the social sciences. He was especially interested in economic development, particularly in India, and he was an adviser to many national and international organizations on questions of trade and international development.

    A native of Austria, Hoselitz received his doctor of law degree in 1936 from the University of Vienna and his master's degree in economics from Chicago. He joined the Chicago faculty in 1945.

    "He was one of the first economists to take serious account of the non-economic factors in economic development," said Manning Nash, Professor Emeritus in Anthropology. "His European education in the historical and jurisprudence fields in social sciences provided him with a broad perspective on development."

    In 1952, Hoselitz founded the journal Economic Development and Cultural Change, which pioneered interdisciplinary research on the new nations that were being formed after World War II. He served as its editor from its inception until 1985.

    Also in 1952, Hoselitz served on a United Nations technical-assistance mission to El Salvador and was author of the U.N. study "Industrial Development of El Salvador." He also wrote for the United Nations about such issues as the recruitment of white-collar workers in underdeveloped countries.

    From 1957 to 1958, Hoselitz was a member of a team of advisers to the government of India on the master plan for the national capital region. During that time he also wrote the report "The Role of Foreign Aid in the Development of Underdeveloped Countries" for the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

    Hoselitz's book Sociological Aspects of Economic Growth, later translated into 14 languages, was published in 1960.

    That same year, he organized an eight-day conference at the University on economic development. The conference -- co-sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United States National Commission for UNESCO and the Canadian National Commission for UNESCO -- brought representatives from India, France, Argentina, the United States, Canada, Chile and other countries to the University to discuss issues of development in emerging economies in Africa and Asia.

    In 1962, Hoselitz oversaw two studies sponsored by the National Science Foundation on the economic and social implications of science and technology. One of the studies examined the reasons for slow technological progress in Indian agriculture, and the other examined the role of small-scale industries in Asia, mainly in India.

    Hoselitz concluded that, because of a shortage of capital, small-scale, private economic development is the most appropriate means of development in emerging economies.

    "In the change [to expanding economic development], entrepreneurial performance may rise to a level where it can provide not wealth alone but also social status and some form of political influence," he wrote in a 1963 paper, "The Entrepreneurial Element of Economic Development," commissioned by the United Nations.

    Among Hoselitz's other publications is the book A Reader's Guide to the Social Sciences (1970), which he edited and to which he contributed several chapters. The book was widely read on university campuses throughout the country.

    Hoselitz became emeritus in 1978. Before joining the faculty at Chicago, he had served on the faculty of Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., and had been a research assistant at Yale.

    He is survived by a daughter, Ann, of Chicago, and a son, David, of Portland, Ore.