The Elgar Companion to the Chicago School of Economics
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The Elgar Companion to the Chicago School of Economics

Edited by Ross B. Emmett

Many know the Chicago School of Economics and its association with Milton Friedman, George Stigler, Ronald Coase and Gary Becker. But few know the School’s history and the full scope of its scholarship. In this Companion, leading scholars examine its history and key figures, as well as provide surveys of the School’s contributions to central aspects of economics, including: price theory, monetary theory, labor and economic history. The volume examines the School’s traditions of applied welfare theory and law and economics while providing a glimpse into emerging research on Chicago’s role in the development of neoliberalism.
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Chapter 18: George J. Stigler

Edward Nik-Khah


Edward Nik-Khah George Joseph Stigler was one of the most influential economists of the second half of the twentieth century. During a career that spanned seven decades, from the 1930s to the 1990s, Stigler won some of the highest accolades a scholar can receive, including election to the National Academy of Sciences (1973), a National Medal of Science (1987), and the Nobel Prize in Economics (1982). Whether due to his authorship of one of the primary textbook presentations of Chicago price theory or his extension of it to industrial organization, information, regulation, and politics, Stigler is universally regarded as a principal architect of the post-war Chicago School (Mincer 1983, Schmalensee 1983, Demsetz 1993, Peltzman 1993). Receiving less attention was Stigler’s control of the Walgreen Foundation and the Center for the Study of the Economy and the State after his return to Chicago in 1958. The Foundation and Center became key institutions in the production and promulgation of post-war Chicago doctrine (Nik-Khah forthcoming). George Stigler was born on January 17, 1911 into a German-speaking household in Renton, Washington, the only child to a father who had emigrated from Bavaria and a mother from Hungary (then, Austria-Hungary). Stigler attended school at the University of Washington, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in business administration, hoping to prepare for a career in business; he earned an MBA at Northwestern University in 1932. His professors failed to make much of an impression on the young Stigler, save for the Northwestern economist Coleman Woodbury, who...

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