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The Nobel Memorial Laureates in Economics

The Nobel Memorial Laureates in Economics

An Introduction to Their Careers and Main Published Works

Howard R. Vane and Chris Mulhearn

Erudite, accessible and lucidly written, this book provides a stimulating introduction to the careers and main published works of the Nobel Memorial Laureates in Economics. It will prove to be an invaluable reference book on key figures in economics and their path-breaking insights. The vignettes should also encourage the reader to sample some of the Laureates’ original works and gain a better understanding of the context in which new ideas were first put forward.


Howard R. Vane and Chris Mulhearn

Subjects: economics and finance, economic psychology, history of economic thought


THE 1990 NOBEL MEMORIAL LAUREATES HARRY MARKOWITZ, MERTON MILLER AND WILLIAM SHARPE HARRY MARKOWITZ Harry M. Markowitz (b. 1927) © The Nobel Foundation Harry Max Markowitz was born in Chicago, Illinois, USA in 1927. He remembers reading David Hume and Charles Darwin while still in high school and being especially taken with the problem of induction and by Darwin’s carefully drawn arguments. Markowitz studied at the University of Chicago on a bachelor’s programme for two years before electing to specialise in economics. His choice turned particularly on his interest in the economics of uncertainty; he was awarded a BPh in 1947, followed by an MA in 1950. Markowitz’s teachers at Chicago included subsequent Nobel Laureates Milton Friedman and Tjalling Koopmans. Markowitz clearly impressed as a student as he was invited to take up a junior research position at the Cowles Commission at Chicago, then directed by Koopmans (Nobel Foundation, 2004). He was awarded a PhD by the University of Chicago in 1954. In 1952 Markowitz took a job as a research associate with the RAND Corporation. Following an invitation from James Tobin (see entry in this volume) he spent the academic year 1955–56 at the Cowles Foundation at Yale University writing a book Portfolio Selection: Efficient Diversification of Investment, published in 1959. He briefly left the RAND Corporation for a consultant’s position with General Electric in 1960 before returning in 1961. After further work in the 178 HARRY MARKOWITZ business sector, Markowitz began to combine business and...

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