Robert Merton Solow (born August 23, 1924) is an American economist particularly known for his work on the theory of economic growth. He was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal in 1961 and the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel in 1987.
Solow was born in Brooklyn, New York. He served in the United States Army from 1942 to 1945. He earned his doctorate in economics at Harvard University, studying under Wassily Leontief.
Solow's model of economic growth, often known as the neo-classical growth model, allows the determinants of economic growth to be separated out into increases in inputs (labour and capital) and technical progress. Using his model, Solow calculated that about four fifths of the growth in US output per worker was attributable to technical progress.
Since Solow's initial work in the 1950s, many more sophisticated models of economic growth have been proposed, leading to varying conclusions about the causes of economic growth. In the 1980s efforts have focused on the role of technological progress in the economy, leading to the development of endogenous growth theory (or new growth theory).
He is currently an emeritus professor in the MIT economics department, and previously taught at Columbia University.