An Introduction to Their Careers and Main Published Works
Chapter 33: THE 2001 NOBEL MEMORIAL LAUREATES GEORGE AKERLOF, MICHAEL SPENCE AND JOSEPH STIGLITZ
THE 2001 NOBEL MEMORIAL LAUREATES GEORGE AKERLOF, MICHAEL SPENCE AND JOSEPH STIGLITZ GEORGE AKERLOF George A. Akerlof (b. 1940) © The Nobel Foundation George Akerlof was born in New Haven, Connecticut, USA in 1940. Akerlof’s father, a chemist, held academic and research posts at, among others, Yale University – where he met his future wife (a chemistry graduate student) – and Princeton University. His elder brother followed their father into a career in science but Akerlof developed an interest in social matters such as ‘history and, if children can have such interests, economics’ (Nobel Foundation, 2004). Akerlof recalls that one of his ﬁrst signiﬁcant thoughts about the discipline came at the age of 11 or 12 when, prompted by his father’s move from one post to another, he speculated about the wider consequences of his father becoming unemployed and the family having to cut back on its spending. If this caused another father to lose his job, spending to fall further and so on, the economy could falter. Thus Akerlof’s professional commitment to Keynesian macroeconomics was preﬁgured in pre-adolescent reﬂections about the interdependency of families in their contribution to the maintenance of aggregate demand. Akerlof attended Yale as an undergraduate and was awarded a BA in mathematics and economics in 1962. In 1966 he received his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His PhD thesis developed themes that were Akerlof’s ﬁrst attempts ‘to base 292 GEORGE AKERLOF Keynesian economics on sound microeconomic foundations’ (Nobel Foundation, 2004). Perhaps even...
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