Abba P. Lerner

Abraham "Abba" Ptachya Lerner was a Russian-born British economist.
Born in Bessarabia, Russian Empire, Lerner grew up in a Jewish family, which emigrated to Great Britain when Lerner was three years old. Lerner grew up in London's East End and from age 16 worked as a machinist, a teacher in Hebrew schools, and as an entrepreneur. In 1929, Lerner entered the London School of Economics, where he studied under Friedrich Hayek. A six-month stay at Cambridge in 1934–1935 brought him into contact with John Maynard Keynes. In 1937, Lerner emigrated to the United States. While in the United States, Lerner befriended his intellectual opponents Milton Friedman and Barry Goldwater.
Lerner never stayed at one institution long, serving on the faculties of nearly a dozen universities and accepting over 20 visiting appointments. Lerner was 62 when he was given a professorship at the University of California, Berkeley in 1965 and left after reaching mandatory retirement age six years later. During his time there, Lerner criticized the unrest caused by the student Free Speech Movement as a threat to academic freedom.
Although Lerner never received the Sveriges Riksbank's Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, he has been recognized as one of the greatest economists of his era. Fundamental economic "concepts, theorems and rules" were derived and/or furthered by Lerner's work throughout his academic career.


Lerner married Alice Sendak in 1930. In 1932, they had twin children Marion and Lionel. At some point, their marriage ended and Lerner ended up remarrying to Daliah Goldfarb at the age of 57.