Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert
Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz
Chapter 113: Kenneth Joseph Arrow (b. 1921)
Kenneth J. Arrow’s name is associated with two famous components of microeconomic theory: Arrow’s (im)possibility theorem of social choice and the so-called Arrow– Debreu model. The publication of Arrow’s impossibility theorem in 1950 marks the birth of a whole scientific field (social choice theory) that goes well beyond economics and overlaps with several other subjects, including political science, political philosophy and social ethics. Arrow’s scientific life is well documented. There are, among others, two papers authored by Arrow himself (1992, 2009), a number of interviews – for example, Kelly (1987 ) and Feiwel (1987a, 1987b) – and the prefaces to the six volumes of his collected papers as well as the short historical introductions to many individual papers in this collection (Arrow 1984a, 1984b, 1984c, 1984d, 1985a, 1985b). In the book edited by Szenberg (1992), eminent economists were asked to write a 20-page essay on their life philosophy. Arrow responded with a beautifully written piece. We learn there about his interest in literature (Proust, Joyce, Kafka, Shelley and Keats) and in music (Wagner). His interest or even passion for abstraction had implications for his taste regarding the fine arts, which is also reflected in his admiration of Mondrian. Life Arrow was born in New York on 23 August 1921, into a wealthy family. He told Feiwel (1987b): “my first ten years were spent in considerable affluence, my next ten years in very considerable poverty”. After high school, he attended the City College of New York because it was then an institution...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.