Allan George Barnard Fisher

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Allan George Barnard Fisher
Born 26/02/1895
Christchurch, New Zealand
Died 08/06/1976
London, England
Fields economics

Allan George Barnard Fisher (26 Oct 1895 in Christchurch, New Zealand - 08 Jun 1976 in London, England) was a noted New Zealand born economist.

Perhaps his most notable contribution was to investigate economic development in terms of the sequential dominance of different sectors of the economy: the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors (three-sector theory).[1][2]


Allan was born in New Zealand but moved with his parents to Australia, where he attended the Scotch College and the University of Melbourne. From 1916 to early 1918, Allan served in the Australian Army at the 14th Australian General Hospital at Cairo and Port Said.,[3] later moving to Palestine and spending 5 months with the on the Jaffa-Jerusalem road with the Australian 5th Camel Corps Field Ambulance. On his return to the University of Melbourne in 1919 he became a lecturer in the philosophy department. He gave a talk on 'Palestine and Jerusalem', copies of which are in the University of Melbourne Library and the British Library.

Photo of AGB on Camel jpg.JPG

In 1924 he gained his PhD the London School of Economics. The notes he made on lectures attended are in the LSE archives. He returned to Australia in 1925 and was received Professor of Economics at the University of Otago from 1925 to 1935.

In 1930 and 1931 Allan was awarded a Rockefeller Fellowship, which enabled him to travel and study in China, Russia, Poland, Geneva, England and the United States.

During 1936-1937, Allan was Professor of Economics at the University of Western Australia in Perth. In 1938 the family moved to England, when Allan accepting the Price Research Professorship at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, familiarly known as Chatham House, in London and became Professor of International Economics in London. This involved trips to Scandinavia and the Balkans, and in 1939, the family moved to Oxford. Lectures given by AGB Fisher are included in a special online archive issue from Chatham house

1934 Alan became chief editor, Economist, Bank of New South Wales. During the War, he paid two visits to the United States, to an F.A.O. preparatory commission and 1944 was Counsellor at the New Zealand Legation in Washington D.C. He also attended the Bretton Woods Conference as well as the 1946 Paris Peace Conference, before taking up his job later that year, on the staff of the International Monetary Fund. Allan retired in 1960 and lived in England for the remainder of his life

Selected publications

Some Problems of Wages and Their Regulation, P. S. King & Son, 1926.

The Clash of Progress and Security, Macmillan, 1935.

Economic self-sufficiency, The Clarendon Press (Oxford, England), 1939.

International problems of economic change, by Allan G. B. Fisher, March–April 1938 - See more at:

The constitution and work of UNRRA, by Allan G. B. Fisher, July 1944

International collaboration and the economic and social council, by Allan G. B. Fisher, October 1945

Economic Progress and Social Security, Macmillan, 1945.

International Implications of Full Employment, Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1946.

(With son, Humphrey J. Fisher) Slavery and Muslim Society in Africa: The Institution in Saharan and Sudanic Africa and the Trans-Saharan Trade, C. Hurst, 1970, Doubleday, 1971.

(Editor and translator with Humphrey J. Fisher) Gustav Nachtigal, Sahara and Sudan, Volume IV: Wadai and Darfur, University of California Press, 1972, Volume I: Tripoli and Fezzan, Tibesti or Tu, Barnes & Noble, 1974.

Fisher, Allan GB. "Production, primary, secondary and tertiary." Economic Record 15.1 (1939): 24-38.


  1. Endres, Anthony M. "‘Structural’economic thought in New Zealand: The inter‐war contribution of AGB Fisher∗." New Zealand Economic Papers 22.1 (1988): 35-49.
  2. Hogan, W. 2002, 'A.G.B. Fisher: Trans-Tasman Economist', History of Economic Thought Society of Australia Conference in History of Economic Thought Society of Australia Conference.
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