Eli Filip Heckscher, 1879-1952, was a Swedish economist who was Professor at the Stockholm University College and Director of the Institute of Economic History. His attention was centred in economic history and political economy, and he was in favour of laissez-faire. Heckscher formulated with Bertil Ohlin, a mathematical model of international trade known as the Hecksher-Ohlin model. Also known as the Hecksher-Ohlin-Samuelson model for Samuelson’s later developments.
Regarding Heckscher’s contributions to the economic theory we can highlight his mix of innovative theories and the use of a new methodology for economic history research, which may come as a result of his experience as a teacher and researcher. It is said he brought together economic history and theory, by addressing broad questions or hypotheses to the source materials, for intensive and critical study, while supporting his findings with statistical data.
His most significant contribution was his article “Effects of Foreign Trade on the Distribution of Income”, 1919, which would be the base for the later development, of his and Ohlin`s theorem. He used David Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage (known as Ricardian trade theory) to develop his theory of factor endowment, to describe how a country should specialize in developing those activities for which its factor endowment are best suited, in exchange for those which it did not produce.
Other important contributions, especially from a historic perspective, were his treatise “Mercantilism”, 1931 and “Sweden’s Economic History from Reign of Gustav Vasa”, 1959.