Irving Fisher is regarded as one of the most influential economists ever and has even been described as “the first celebrity finance professor.” It seems almost inevitable, therefore, that Fisher and his ideas would end up as part of the FRASER collection. 

There are a number of letters between Fisher and Federal Reserve Chair Marriner Eccles included in the Eccles papers held at the University of Utah and digitized for FRASER. These letters show a cordial relationship between Eccles and Fisher and include some policy discussion. The Eccles collection also includes letters by Fisher to other parties, of which copies were sent to the Chair. [Irving’s handwritten note at the bottom of the image reads, “As you know I regard this as one of the most essential parts of a monetary program. Incidentally it would help solve your budget problem.”]

In addition, FRASER includes the full text of some of Fisher’s seminal works, including the article “The Debt-Deflation Theory of Great Depressions[1]; the book Booms and Depressions: Some First Principles[2]; the American Economic Association report “Appreciation and Interest[3]; and the book The Purchasing Power of Money.[4]

First a Yale student, then professor and prolific writer, Fisher wrote a thesis, “Mathematical Investigations in the Theory of Value and Prices,”[5] in 1892. He also produced several textbooks during his career, including Elementary Principles of Economics[6]and his Introduction to Economic Science.[7] Fisher’s theories on capital, investment, and interest rates were first expressed in his 1906 book The Nature of Capital and Income,[8] followed by The Theory of Interest,[9] which includes his extensive research into capital, credit markets, and the factors that determine interest rates. For over 40 years, Fisher elaborated on his monetary theory, which he expanded upon in books such as Why is the Dollar Shrinking? A Study in the High Cost of Living[10] and Stabilizing the Dollar.[11]

For more of Irving Fisher’s works, see the collection in FRASER. The FRASER team hopes to add more of Fisher’s works in the future. Have a favorite that you don’t see in FRASER’s collection yet? Let us know on Twitter @FedFRASER!

[1] Fisher, Irving. “The Debt-Deflation Theory of Great Depressions.” Econometrica: Journal of the Econometric Society, 1933, pp. 337-57.

[2] Fisher, Irving. Booms and Depressions: Some First Principles. New York: Adelphi, 1932.

[3] Fisher, Irving. “Appreciation and Interest: A Study of the Influence of Monetary Appreciation and Depreciation on the Rate of Interest with Applications to the Bimetallic Controversy and the Theory of Interest.” Publications of the American Economic Association, July 1896, 11(4).

[4] Fisher, Irving. The Purchasing Power of Money: Its Determination and Relation to Credit, Interest and Crises. New York: Macmillan Company, 1920.

[5] Fisher, Irving. “Mathematical Investigations in the Theory of Value and Prices.” Doctoral thesis, Yale University, 1892.

[6] Fisher, Irving. Elementary Principles of Economics. New York: Macmillan Company, 1913.

[7] Fisher, Irving. Introduction to Economic Science. New York: Macmillan Company, 1910.

[8] Fisher, Irving. The Nature of Capital and Income. New York: Macmillan Company, 1906.

[9] Fisher, Irving. The Theory of Interest: As Determined by Impatience to Spend Income and Opportunity to Invest It. New York: Macmillan Company, 1930.

[10] Fisher, Irving. Why is the Dollar Shrinking? A Study in the High Cost of Living. New York: Macmillan Company, 1914.

[11] Fisher, Irving. Stabilizing the Dollar: A Plan to Stabilize the General Price Level Without Fixing Individual Prices. New York, Macmillan Company, 1920.

© 2020, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect official positions of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis or the Federal Reserve System.

Category: Staff Picks
Save & Share
Posted on
Browse Inside FRASER:


See answers to frequently asked questions

Learn about the scope of FRASER collections, technical details, and how FRASER got started

Contact Us
Contact us with any questions or feedback