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Gunnar Myrdal


Gunnar Myrdal is not a financial term; rather, he was an influential Swedish economist, sociologist, and politician. He is best known for his work in economic theory, social policy, and his deep studies on race relations, for which he won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1974. Myrdal significantly influenced social policy, particularly regarding welfare and education, along with concepts of circular cumulative causation and socio-economic planning.


The phonetics of the keyword ‘Gunnar Myrdal’ would be: ‘Goo-nar Meer-dahl’

Key Takeaways

  1. Gunnar Myrdal was a Swedish economist who made significant contributions to the fields of sociology and economics. He won the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel in 1974. Myrdal’s work incorporated social and political issues into economic theory, paving the way for increased multifaceted analysis in these areas.
  2. Myrdal’s most influential work was arguably “An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy” where he examined the role of racial discrimination in American society. This book played a significant role in shaping American civil rights movements and was even cited in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education.
  3. Gunnar Myrdal strongly advocated the concept of social welfare, and played an influential role in shaping the welfare state in Sweden. His economic theories often argued for governmental intervention on the grounds of social justice. He supported public provision of welfare services and progressive taxation. Notably, he was also a strong proponent of Third World development.


Gunnar Myrdal was a renowned Swedish economist and sociologist, highly valued in the field of business and finance, not as a term, but more for his significant contributions. His groundbreaking work expanded the aspects of economics to include sociological, political, and institutional factors in economic analysis and policy planning, revolutionizing the modern understanding of economics. Myrdal’s focus on the theory of economic interdependencies and his powerfully holistic approach toward studying economies led him to share the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 1974. Additionally, Myrdal’s work defending welfare state economic policies and his criticisms of racial biases earn him a lasting legacy in both economics and social science disciplines. So, his name comes up frequently in business, finance, and economics discussions because of these reasons.


Gunnar Myrdal was a Swedish economist, sociologist, and politician best known for his work in international development economics and his key role in the formulation of modern welfare state theories. The concept of Gunnar Myrdal, in reference to business and finance, is not about a specific method or term but rather refers to the insights, theories, and principles advocated by this Nobel Laureate. His work offers an understanding of economic disparities and development issues between developed and underdeveloped countries, with implications in the area of fiscal policies, social welfare, and global economics.Myrdal’s one of the significant concepts is the Principle of Cumulative Causation, used to describe an economic cycle where the rich gets richer, and the poor gets poorer. The principle is used to explain why even free market systems often fail to be self-correcting and require government intervention for equitable wealth distribution. Another concept by Myrdal is the idea of Social Engineering, a perspective used in the formulation of policies that aim to reshape societal dynamics for the betterment of the economy and society. These ideas and theories collectively serve as a lens through which various social and economic issues could be analyzed and addressed.


Gunnar Myrdal was an eminent economist, not a business or finance term. But, his work and theories have been implemented and can be seen in various real-world examples. Here are three scenarios that reflect the impact of his work:1. The Concept of Circular Causation: Myrdal introduced the concept of “circular causation” , which emphasizes how the strong gets stronger and the weak gets weaker, contributing to the economic disparity between different regions. This principle can be seen in the uneven distribution of wealth between countries. For example, affluent countries like USA, Germany, or Japan continue to develop because they have access to better resources, education, and technology while poor regions in Africa or Asia keep on struggling due to lack of proper resources and infrastructure.2. Racial Inequality: Myrdal’s work “An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy” explored racial inequality in America. His findings are still relevant. Even today, the wage gap between white and Black Americans, unequal access to quality education, discriminatory lending practices by banks (leading to Black Americans having lower homeownership rates), are all real-world reflections of Myrdal’s analysis of racial disparities in the US.3. Government-led Planning: Myrdal also strongly advocated for government-led planning for economic development. We can see these principles in action in many Asian countries like China, South Korea or India, where state-initiated economic reforms or planning have been used to boost economies. For instance, the Chinese government’s active role in planning has been crucial in lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty and modernizing their economy.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Who is Gunnar Myrdal?

Gunnar Myrdal was a Swedish economist, sociologist, and politician. He is best known for his work on the theory of monetary and fiscal policy, and for his significant contribution to the study of race relations, which earned him a Nobel Prize in Economics in 1974.

What contributions did Gunnar Myrdal make to the field of economics?

Gunnar Myrdal’s most significant contributions lie in his analyses of the interrelations between economic, social, and political phenomena. He was one of those responsible for developing the concept of circular and cumulative causation, where an advantage or disadvantage continues to feed on itself, creating a virtuous or vicious circle.

What is Gunnar Myrdal’s most famous work?

His most famous work is An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy, published in 1944. This comprehensive study of sociological, economic, and historical factors at play in the issue of race relations in America is still widely read and cited today.

When was Gunnar Myrdal awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics?

Gunnar Myrdal was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1974.

What did Gunnar Myrdal do politically?

Myrdal held several significant roles in public policy in Sweden, including serving as Minister of Trade from 1945 to 1947. His influence globally in policy-making and in the social sciences has endured many years after his death.

Why is Gunnar Myrdal’s work on race relations important?

Myrdal’s work on race relations, particularly his study An American Dilemma, was ground-breaking because it involved an exhaustive analysis of the dynamics of minority-majority interactions, embedded racial biases, and the long-term implications of policy decisions and social attitudes. It remains highly influential within sociology and related fields.

How did Gunnar Myrdal’s work influence economic policies?

Gunnar Myrdal’s work influenced economic policies in a few significant ways. He endorsed the idea of government intervention in economies to promote growth and to stabilize markets during downturns. His work strongly influenced the implementation of welfare states in Scandinavian countries.

Related Finance Terms

  • Development Theory
  • Nobel Prize in Economics
  • Social Economics
  • Monetary Equilibrium
  • Circular Cumulative Causation (CCC)

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