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Understanding Economics

People in Economics -- Nobel prize winners

Profiles of prominent figures in the fields of economics and finance.

F&D interviews include a number of Nobel prize winners. The Nobel prize in Economics was established in 1968 by the Sveriges Riksbank (Sweden's central bank). Some of our profiles also include video interviews.
List by: Most recent, or Policymakers

Labor Rewarded
Christopher Pissarides Christopher Pissarides, visionary on the economics of unemployment

Pissarides helped transform the way economists view labor markets. Understanding unemployment has been his life’s work since the 1970s.

The Master Artisan
Elinor Ostrom Elinor Ostrom, first woman to win economics Nobel, by Maureen Burke

Heralding a cooperative and interdisciplinary approach herself, Ostrom has amassed a body of work examining social norms and what makes people cooperate—including to the extent that they avoid “tragedy of the commons” outcomes, situations previously accepted by many economists as unavoidable.

The Human Face of Economics
George Akerlof George Akerlof, Berkeley professor and founder of identity economics, by Prakash Loungani

Well known for his early work on the economic consequences of information asymmetries, Akerlof’s long career at Berkeley also yielded a body of work in which he used innovative ways to look at unemployment. He has also been a perennial voice calling for sensible government regulation in the banking sector.
webcast George Akerlof on Identity Economics

Residual Brilliance
Robert Solow Robert Solow, giant in the field of economic growth theory, by Atish Rex Ghosh

Solow looked at the sources of growth—capital, labor, and technological progress, finding the latter to be the main driver of long-term growth. For decades, his work has influenced governments’ policies across the world as they look to increase funding for technological research to spur economic growth.
webcast Robert Solow on reshaping economics

The People’s Professor
Joseph Stiglitz, former World Bank Chief Economist, by Prakash Loungani

Having amassed a body of work examining the rather profound effects that the adequacy and availability of information has on economic transactions, Stiglitz also played a key role as chairman of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisors in the 1990s.
webcast Stiglitz on Iceland
webcast Stiglitz on reshaping economics
webcast Michael Spence on reshaping economics

Questioning a Chastened Priesthood
Daniel Kahneman, psychologist who helped build the field of behavioral economics, by Jeremy Clift

Well known for his pioneering work integrating aspects of psychological research into economic science, Kahneman’s work is regarded as having laid the foundation for a new field of economic research—behavioral economics.

The Catch-Up Game
Michael Spence, former Dean of Stanford Graduate School of Business, by Archana Kumar

Spence, best known for his groundbreaking work explaining how employees and employers interact, also served as Chair of the Commission on Growth Development, which had been tasked with determining strategies for sustainable growth.

Ahead of His Time
Robert Mundell, former advisor to the UN, IMF, and World Bank, by Laura Wallace

A pioneer of modern international economics and inspiration to a generation of researchers, Mundell has been lauded for his analysis of monetary and fiscal policy under different exchange rate regimes and his analysis of optimum currency areas.

Economist as Crusader
Paul Krugman, winner of both the Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes, by Arvind Subramanian

Economics made Krugman famous; punditry made him a celebrity. As a hard-hitting political columnist Krugman has made influential contributions to both international trade theory and international macroeconomics.

Freedom as Progress
Amartya Sen, inventor of better measures of poverty, by Laura Wallace

Known for restoring “an ethical dimension” to the discussion of vital economic problems by combining tools from economics and philosophy, Sen’s contributions to social choice theory, welfare economics, and economic measurement have been seminal.

The Lab Man
Vernon Smith, senior fellow at Cato Institute, by Jeremy Clift

As a pioneer in the use of experimenting in the controlled environment of a laboratory to test economic theories, Smith’s work helped shift the perception of economics as a nonexperimental science that had to rely on observation of real-world economies rather than the controlled experiments.

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