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Belated congratulations

October 17th, 2006

As everyone knows by now, the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel went to Edmund Phelps. Phelps award is one of the relatively rare cases where the Economics Nobel has genuinely been awarded for a single big discovery rather than for a research program. By incorporating inflation expectations into the Philips curve, Phelps killed the idea of a stable long-run trade-off between unemployment and inflation, and, in effect, predicted the emergence of inflation in the 1970s. As Phelps himself noted, the implication of the new model that there exists a ‘natural’ or ‘non-accelerating inflation’ rate of unemployment has not fared nearly so well, but the central point that there is nothing to be gained, in the long run, by allowing inflation rates to rise, remains valid.

Congratulations also to the winner of the Peace Prize, Muhammed Yunus who founded the microcredit provider Grameen Bank

Even more belatedly, Australian Terry Tao shared the Fields Medal in mathematics back in August for his contributions to partial differential equations, combinatorics, harmonic analysis and additive number theory.

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  1. October 17th, 2006 at 19:16 | #1

    A question John. Which economist in your opinion deserved to win the Nobel Prize for Economics the most but did not?

  2. jquiggin
    October 17th, 2006 at 19:46 | #2

    Assuming we confine attention to people who have died since the prize was first awarded, and didn’t get it, the outstanding candidate was Joan Robinson.

  3. James Farrell
    October 17th, 2006 at 20:18 | #3

    I posted my own humble verdict on Phelps last week.

  4. October 17th, 2006 at 20:33 | #4

    On the other prize – good to see a banker get it. Innovation in banking is not something normally associated with peace, but I think this was well worth it.

  5. October 17th, 2006 at 23:09 | #5

    Um… I would say that sustained inflation is always of value, not overall but to certain persons and groups. This is an area where the who/whom question matters very much.

  6. October 17th, 2006 at 23:45 | #6

    One thing I’ve noticed is that other than Joan Robinson I can’t really think of another notable female economist.

  7. Uncle Milton
    October 18th, 2006 at 10:30 | #7

    Trevor Swan should have won the Nobel Prize. His (nearly identical) theory of economic growth was published the same year as Solow’s, but Solow got the credit and the Nobel Prize; Swans’ theory of internal/external balance was published around the same time as similar work by Mundell, but Mundell got the credit and the Nobel Prize, and Swan did pathbreaking work on econometric models at the same time as Klein, but Klein got the credit and the Nobel Prize.

    If Swan had been based in the US or Europe rather than Australia he would have had honours showered on him.

  8. Bring Back EP at LP
    October 18th, 2006 at 11:01 | #8

    No Joan Robinson actually wrote in english so one could understnd what she was saying.
    She couldn’t possibly win an award!

  9. Uncle Milton
    October 18th, 2006 at 11:13 | #9

    Homer, a number of economists with no maths have won the Nobel Prize.

    Joan Robinson once turned down the offer of being Vice President of the Econometric Society because it meant she would have had to sit on the editorial board of Econmetrica and she didn’t want to be an editor of a journal she couldn’t read.

    It is also rumoured that she turned down the Nobel.

  10. jquiggin
    October 18th, 2006 at 12:06 | #10

    You’re right about Swan, Uncle M.

  11. Bring Back EP at LP
    October 18th, 2006 at 14:17 | #11

    Uncle Milton I wasn’t merely referring to maths or is it more accurate to say stats?
    try reading about the cambridge controversies or even imperfect competition and understand what the people are talking about without reading Joan.

    She was not only a great economist ( does anybody else remember her on monday conference?) but a wonderful and very readable writer.

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