Harold Davis

Harold Davis nsIn existographies, Harold Davis (1892-1974) (CR:11) was an American mathematician noted, in economic thermodynamics, for his 1938 to 1941 publications on how some thermodynamics equations and economic equations show formal similarity.

In 1938, Davis published a joint review of the 1937 book by Georges Guillaume on thermodynamics and economics and of Jan Tinbergen’s An Econometric Approach to Business Cycle Problems in the Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society. [5]

In 1941, Davis digressed in discussions of a formal similarity between fundamental thermodynamic equations and some equations of economic models. [1] Davis considered the budget equations of macroanalysis and suggested that the utility of money represents “economic entropy”. [2]

In 1949, in commentary on Davis’ thermodynamic economics attempt, Dutch economist Johannes Lisman argued that none of the variables used in Davis' mathematical economic models seem to play the same role as entropy in thermodynamics. Based on Lisman's review, Davis theory seems to be a classic case of the use of employing thermodynamic isomorphisms. [4]

Davis completed his AB in 1915 and Ll.D. in 1949 both at Colorado College, after which he completed an AM Harvard University in 1919 followed by a two-part PhD dissertation: I. An Existence Theorem for the Characteristic Numbers of a Certain Boundary Value Problem. II. An Extension of the Problem of the Elastic Bar, in 1926 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. [3]

Quotes | Employed
The following are quotes employed by Davis:

“The writer can remember, as a student, meeting with the ‘entropy’ as a mysterious abstraction, enshrined in the writings of Lord Kelvin and others, but which no one dreamed of vulgarizing by the attachment of numerical values. Now every engineer's pocket-book contains tables of the entropy of different substances, and that most useful quantity is made available to the vulgar.”
— Robert Lehfeldt (1914), “The Elasticity of the Demand for Wheat”; cited by Harold Davis (1941) in The Theory of Econometrics (pg. 98) [6]

1. Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas. (1971). The Entropy Law and the Economic Process (pg. 17). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
2. Davis, Harold T. (1941). The Theory of Econometrics (pg. 171-76; thermodynamics, 2+ pgs.). Bloomington.
3. (a) Harold Thayer Davis – Mathematics Genealogy Project.
(b) Harold T. Davis – Biographies of Fellows, Staff, and Guests (1932-52), Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
4. Lisman, Johannes H.C. (1949). “Econometrics and Thermodynamics: A Remark on Davis’ Theory of Budgets” (abs), Econometrica, XVII, 59-62.
5. (a) Davis, Harold T. (1938), “[Book review]”, Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society, 44(11): 761-2.
(b) Erreygers, Guido. (2013). “Mechanics Meets Economics, Once Again: On the Rationale of ‘Rational Economics’ of the Guillaume Brothers” (pdf), paper for conference “The Pioneers of Linear Models of Production”, EconomiX, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, 17-18 January 2013.
6. (a) Lehfeldt, Robert A. (1914), “The Elasticity of the Demand for Wheat” (JST), The Economic Journal, 24(94):212-17.
(b) Davis, Harold T. (1941). The Theory of Econometrics (pg. 98). Bloomington.

Further reading
● Farebrother, Richard W. (1999). “A Memoir on the Life of Harold Thayer David (1892-1974)” (abs), The Manchester School, Vol 67, Issue 4, pgs. 603-10.

External links
Harold Davis (about) – Colorado College.
Harold T. Davis (about) – Cowles Commission for Research in Economics.

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