During his seven decades as an economist, Samuelson's professional positions included:
As professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Samuelson worked in many fields, including:
More than any other contemporary economist, Samuelson has helped to raise the general analytical and methodological level in economic science. He has simply rewritten considerable parts of economic theory. He has also shown the fundamental unity of both the problems and analytical techniques in economics, partly by a systematic application of the methodology of maximization for a broad set of problems. This means that Samuelson's contributions range over a large number of different fields.
in order to derive "a general theory of economic theories" (Samuelson, 1983, p. xxvi). The book showed how these goals could be parsimoniously and fruitfully achieved, using the language of the mathematics applied to diverse subfields of economics. The book proposes two general hypotheses as sufficient for its purposes:
Samuelson's textbook was a watershed in introducing a serious study of business cycles in the economics curriculum. It was particularly timely because it followed the Great Depression, which had only ended because of the fiscal stimulus of World War II. The study of business cycles along with the introduction of the Keynesian approach of aggregate demand set the stage for the macroeconomic revolution in America, which then diffused throughout the world through translations into every major language. Generations of students, who then became teachers, learned their first and most influential lessons from Samuelson's Economics. It attracted many imitators, who became successful in different niches of the college market.