Frank Plumpton Ramsey (22 February 1903 – 19 January 1930) was a British philosopher, mathematician, and economist who made major contributions to all three fields before his death at the age of 26. He was a close friend of Ludwig Wittgenstein and, as an undergraduate, translated Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus into English. He was also influential in persuading Wittgenstein to return to philosophy and Cambridge. Like Wittgenstein, he was a member of the Cambridge Apostles, the secret intellectual society, from 1921.

Keynes and Pigou encouraged Ramsey to work on economics. Ramsey responded by writing three papers in economic theory all of which were of fundamental importance, though it was many years before they received their proper recognition by the community of economists.

Ramsey’s three papers were on subjective probability and utility (1926), optimal allocation (1927) and optimal one-sector economic growth (1928). Paul Samuelson described them in 1970 as ‘three great legacies – legacies that were for the most part mere by-products of his major interest in the foundations of mathematics and knowledge.’

Key works (in Economics)

1926 “Truth and Probability”, in Ramsey, 1931, The Foundations of Mathematics and other Logical Essays, Ch. VII, p.156-198, edited by R.B. Braithwaite, London: Kegan, Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company.

1927 “A Contribution to the Theory of Taxation”, The Economic Journal, Vol. 37, No. 145 (Mar., 1927), pp. 47-61

1928 “A Mathematical Theory of Saving”, The Economic Journal, Vol. 38, No. 152. (Dec., 1928), pp. 543-559.

Link to article on Ramsey at the History of Economic Thought Website

Link to Wikipedia article on Frank Ramsey

The Man who Thought Too Fast: Article on Ramsey in the New Yorker