Lives of the Laureates: Twenty-three Nobel Economists

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William Breit, Barry T. Hirsch
MIT Press, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 459 pages
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Autobiographical accounts by twenty-three Nobel laureates give a picture of the richness of contemporary economic thought and insights into the creative process.

Lives of the Laureates offers readers an informal history of modern economic thought as told through autobiographical essays by twenty-three winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics. The essays not only provide unique insights into major economic ideas of our time but also shed light on the processes of intellectual discovery and creativity. This fifth edition adds five recent Nobel laureates to its list of contributors: Vernon L. Smith (2002), Clive W. J. Granger (2003), Edward C. Prescott (2004), Thomas C. Schelling (2005) and Edmund S. Phelps (2006). Also included is the editors' revised afterword, "Lessons from the Laureates."

Lives of the Laureates grows out of a continuing lecture series at Trinity University in San Antonio, which invites Nobelists from American universities to describe their evolution as economists in personal as well as technical terms. Each laureate achieves the goal of clarity without sacrificing inherently difficult content: Kenneth Arrow makes grasping the essentials of his "impossibility theorem" painless; Lawrence Klein clearly presents what goes into econometric "model building"; George Stigler masterfully describes his "information theory"; and so on. These lectures demonstrate the richness and diversity of contemporary economic thought. The reader will find that paths cross in unexpected ways--that disparate thinkers were often influenced by the same teachers--and that luck as well as hard work plays a role in the process of scientific discovery.

 

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Contents

W Arthur Lewis
1
Lawrence R Klein
17
Kenneth J Arrow
35
Paul A Samuelson
49
Milton Friedman
65
George J Stigler
79
James Tobin
95
Franco Modigliani
115
John C Harsanyi
223
Myron S Scholes
235
Gary S Becker
251
Robert E Lucas Jr
273
James J Heckman
299
Vernon L Smith
335
Clive W J Granger
357
Edward C Prescott
369

James M Buchanan
137
Robert M Solow
153
William F Sharpe
171
Ronald H Coase
189
Douglass C North
209
Thomas C Schelling
393
Edmund S Phelps
421
An Afterword
437
Notes
455
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About the author (2009)

William Breit was E. M. Stevens Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Trinity University, San Antonio. Barry T. Hirsch is W. J. Usery Chair of the American Workplace at Georgia State University.

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