Roads to Wisdom, Conversations with Ten Nobel Laureates in Economics

Roads to Wisdom, Conversations with Ten Nobel Laureates in Economics

Karen Ilse Horn

Karen Horn’s remarkable interviews with ten Nobel Laureates explore the conditions required for scientific progress by navigating the ‘roads to wisdom’ in economic science.

Chapter 6: Robert M. Solow

Karen Ilse Horn

Subjects: economics and finance, history of economic thought


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, USA © Peter Badge/Typos1 in cooperation with the Foundation Lindau Nobelprizewinners Meetings at Lake Constance, all rights reserved. The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 1987 ‘for his contributions to the theory of economic growth’. INTRODUCTION It is raining cats and dogs. It’s June, but nevertheless, the raindrops fall out of the dark clouds above Boston in this particularly distasteful horizontal manner. In spite of my umbrella, I’m soaking wet as soon as I get off the subway at Kendall. As I jog towards the corner of Wadsworth Street and Memorial Drive and head on to the grey building which hosts the Sloan School of Business, Robert M. Solow, who has already arrived, kindly holds the door open for me so as to avoid any further soaking. He’s slim and trim as ever, very busy in spite of his 83 years, and looking forward to his three month long summer vacation which he is going to spend with his numerous family at Martha’s Vineyard, as every year, in the house that he has bought with the money from the Nobel Prize. He lets me dry off a little and then invites me into his small cubicle right next door to Paul A. Samuelson’s office. It was a ‘geographical coincidence’, as he likes to say, that originally placed him in this office that was once designed 110 Robert M. Solow 111 for an assistant professor, and he has never wanted...

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