Wolfgang F. Stolper papers, 1892-2001, bulk dates 1930s-1990s

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Stolper, Wolfgang F.
Wolfgang Stolper (1912-2002) was a professor emeritus of economics at the University of Michigan. This collection documents his professional life through his correspondence, writings, research, and professional and faculty activities (especially his missions to Africa as an economic advisor). It forms part of the Economists' Papers Archive.
29 Linear Feet (38 boxes.)
2 Megabytes (One set.)
Material in English, German, and French.
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

Most of this collection is comprised of Stolper's files and notes from his work in Nigeria, Tunisia, and other missions to Africa. These work files document his career as a practitioner--literally working "in the field"--of development economics.

The Nigeria Series, the first and largest, contains his work files from his job as head of the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) in the Federal Ministry of Economic Development in Lagos, Nigeria from 1961-62 (sent there under the auspices of the Ford Foundation). As head of the EPU, Stolper co-authored the first ever National Development Plan, (1962-68) for the Federation of Nigeria. As such, his papers present an extensive and thorough picture of the Nigerian economy at that time. Once top secret files, they include detailed statistical data on each industry, industrialization plans, reports on marketing board policies, maps, and demographics data. Of great interest to researchers on the Nigerian economy might be Stolper's personal diary, a 393-page typewritten account of his two years in Nigeria.

The next two series pertain to his work in Tunisia (1972) and other economic missions to Africa, including Dahomey (now Benin) and Togo (1967), Benin (1983), and Malawi (1981). He was sent to these countries under the auspices of USAID, the UN, and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, also known as the World Bank). The files from these three series alone make up eight of the fourteen storage boxes that house the entire collection. Also in the collection are some notes, papers and drafts of Professor Stolper's work pertaining to Joseph Schumpeter.

Stolper's name is perhaps most recognizable for the theoretical piece written with Paul Samuelson on what has come to be known as the Stolper-Samuelson Theorem (see "Protection and Real Wages," Review of Economic Studies, November 1941). This theorem, one of the core results of the Hecksher-Ohlin model of international trade, essentially states that an increase in the relative domestic price of a good (for example, via the imposition of a tariff) unambiguously raises the real return to the factor of production used intensively in producing that good (and lowers the real return to the other factor). This paper analyzed precisely for the first time the effect of trade or protection on real wages. At present, there is nothing (aside from reprints of the article) in this collection of papers dealing with the Stolper-Samuelson Theorem.

The fourth series, Writings, contains notes, drafts, manuscripts and reprints of any articles found in the collection but excluding those related to Joseph Schumpeter. Some highlights include drafts of "Investments in Africa South of the Sahara," notes and drafts of his book Planning Without Facts: Lessons in Resource Allocation from Nigeria's Development, and articles on smuggling in Africa.

The fifth series, Speeches, Lectures and Conferences, contains material (excluding those pertaining to Schumpeter) from public speaking engagements and conferences attended by Professor Stolper. One item that might be of interest is a speech recorded on magnetic tape titled "Problems of our Foreign Aid Program" that dates from around the 1950s.

Another of Professor Stolper's research interests is the history of economic thought, and this collection's Schumpeter series contains some notes, papers and drafts of Professor Stolper's work pertaining to Joseph Alois Schumpeter. Stolper was afforded a unique and personal relationship with Schumpeter, studying under him first at the University of Bonn and then at Harvard, and also through Schumpeter's position as a close friend of Gustav and Toni Stolper (Wolfgang's father and stepmother, respectively). Included in this series is a book (in German) that Professor Stolper co-wrote with Horst Claus Recktenwald and Frederic M. Scherer titled Uber Schumpeters »Theorie der wirtschaftlichen Entwicklung« (1988).

Biographical / historical:
Date Event
1912, May 13
Born in Vienna, Austria
Attended the Universities of Berlin, Bonn, and Zurich
MA, Economics, Harvard University
Instructor and Tutor, Economics, Harvard University
PhD, Economics, Harvard University
1941, Nov. 9
(with Paul Samuelson) "Protection and Real Wages," Review of Economic Studies
Assistant Professor (1941-1948), Associate Professor (1948-1949), Swarthmore College
Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, University of Zurich
Associate Professor (1949-1953), Professor (1953-1982), Director of Center for Research on Economic Development (1963-1970), Professor Emeritus (1982-2002), University of Michigan
Germany Between East and West and The Structure of the East German Economy
Head, Economic Planning Unit, Federal Ministry of Economic Development, Nigeria
1963-1964, 1964-1965
Chief, US Agency for International Development (USAID) economic mission to Tunisia
Planning Without Facts: Lessons in Resource Allocation from Nigeria's Development
Fulbright Professor, University of Heidelberg
Member, Economic Section, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)
Head, IBRD Mission to Togo and Dahomey (now Benin)
Member, USAID Mission to Nigeria
Member, UN Mission to Malawi
Chief, IBRD Mission to Benin
Joseph Alois Schumpeter: The Public Life of a Private Man
2002, Mar. 31
Died in Ann Arbor, MI

In addition, Stolper participated in economic missions to Malta (1963), Liberia (1963), and Turkey (1968), and worked as a consultant to the Ford Foundation, USAID, the United Nations, and the IBRD (the World Bank). He also held various visiting professorships/lecturing posts at the Universities of Zurich, Heidelberg, and Munster.

His professional affiliations include membership in the American Economic Association, the Nigerian Economic Association, the International Instititute of Public Finance, and the International Schumpeter Society (founding president).

Acquisition information:
The Wolfgang F. Stolper papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library as gifts between 1993-1995 and 2002.
Processing information:

Processed by Joanna Vinluan, June 1997; Joshua Kaiser, September 2002.

Encoded by Ruth E. Bryan, Robin LaPasha, and Joshua Kaiser.

Accession 2002-0207 reformatted for ArchivesSpace and collection-level notes updated by Tracy Jackson, August 2022.

Electronic records processed by Zachary Tumlin, July 2023.


The Wolfgang F. Stolper papers are arranged into eight series: Nigeria; Tunisia; Other Missions; Writings; Speeches, Lectures, and Conferences; Schumpeter; University of Michigan; and Correspondence.

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Access restricted. Accession 2002-0207 requires additional arrangement, description, and/or screening because it is minimally processed. Contact Research Services for more information.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Wolfgang F. Stolper papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Duke University.