Thursday, September 28, 2006

Nobel Prize Possibilities

The Nobel Prize for Economics is given out every year, and this year it will be announced on October 9th. Here is a link to my post on the winners from last year, Thomas Schelling and Robert Aumann. Follow the links to Schelling's work, which is particularly interesting.

The weeks leading up to the announcement always result in guesses as to who the winners will be. The publisher Thomson Scientific has some predictions for this year's Nobel Prize. On their online poll, the current leaders are Paul Krugman, Avinash Dixit, and Jagdish Bhagwati for contributions to internation trade theory.

Economist Tyler Cowen has some predictions posted on his blog as well; he is predicting that the prize will go to Eugene Fama and Richard Thaler for contributions to empirical finance.

I am personally hoping that the committee recognizes my contributions to the field of interactive whiteboard graphing and audioblogging...

I will try to profile a few of the main contenders over the next week (at least the ones that I am familiar with), but anyone who wants to post comments identifying what exactly these guys are known for would be a good post to earn extra credit.


Anonymous said...

I'll do a short profile of Jagdish Bhagwati's accomplishments and beliefs. Bhagwati is an extremely conservative economist, preaching an almost entirely lassez-faire view of the ideal economic system. Although many economists of this viewpoint are often seen as uncaring and immoral, as they do not believe that governing bodies, such as the WTO, should be allowed to sanction countries that allow inhumane working conditions (i.e. child labor, no living wage, etc.) or those that aren't environmentally concious, Bhagwati claims to care deeply for these causes. Bhagwati believes that sanctions are counter-productive in this cause and believes in "'voluntarism'" which relies "on the global communications network and nongovernmental organizations to shame companies and governments" into changing policies. Overall, Bhagwati is on the cutting edge of theories that try to give laissez-faire economics a more moral approach. On top of that, he is almost on the same level of economic comedy as Mr.Arjona:
"'If the W.T.O. is dead, then necrophilia must be breaking out.'"

-Jordan Croom

Anonymous said...

Dale Jorgenson, one nominee for the nobel prize in economics, is well known for his work with pure economic theory and statistical methods. His economic theory focuses on the growth of a dual economy, or the existence of two seperate economic systems in one region. His work in statistics includes the development of estimiation methods for rational distribution lags, making him an expert in the correlation between economics and statistics. Jorgenson has shown considerable accomplishments in researching the determinants of investment spending, applying economic theory to practice in economics.


Anonymous said...

Eugene Fama is known for his work on theoretical and empirical porfolio theory and asset pricing. He is considered the father of efficinent market theory, which asserts that financial markets are efficient, or that prices on traded assets already reflect all of the known information and therefore are unbiased. Recently, however, Fama has co-written a series of papers that attack the notion of market efficiency, and they describe 2 factors which can explain differences in stock returns: market capitalization and value. Fama is also the director of research of the Dimensional Fund Advisors, Inc. Currently Professor Fama continues to teach at the University of Chicago.
-Emily Spurlock

Anonymous said...

Richard Thaler is an economist best known in the study of behavioral finance with Daniel Kahneman. He publishes a regular column in the Journal of Economic Perspectives. He "integrated insights from psychological research into economic science" which seems to be a feat in itself. In many ways, the two ideas inexticably linked, as economics is based on many psycological principles unknown to many people. He theorized the "endowment effect" which says "that people value a good or service more once their property right to it has been established." People value objects they own more than those they do not--this seems to be extremely true--when a cost was involved to obtain an item, the value for it would be considerably high. This defies economic theory. He also theoriezed the "status quo bias" which says that "people like things to stay relatively the same." People hate change which is a simple principle of human nature. People react to change, but usually dont approve of change in any manner. Consistency is security.

--Alena Reich

Anonymous said...

Well before i write about one of these famous economists, i'd like to say that mr. arjona is being robbed of this prize if his smartboard and blogging skills are not recognized...better luck next on to Mr Oliver E. Williamson. First off just look at the schools this man has attended. He got his B.S. at MIT, M.B.A. from Stanford, recieved his Ph. D from Carnigie Mellon, and has taught at University of California. His main area of study is transaction cost economics, which i don't really understand, but here goes...His work on transaction costs have allowed him to differentiate between case-by-case bargaining and relationship-specific contracts. What it sounds to me like this is, is that when a company allocates a certain good to satisfy wants, you have case bargaining. But as time progresses this good begins to target a certain market or other company making it relationship specific. The relationship specific dealings are quite different from the case bargaining.

Williamson's awards are like a shopping list, so i won't list them but he holds many important science and math awards from over many years. This man is definetly qualified for the Prize, although mr. arjona taught him everything he knows.


Brit said...

Worst. Suck Up. Ever.
Kidding, I love you John.
Professor Bengt Holmström is a generally impressive guy. He was born in Finland, though he is part of the Swedish-speaking minority. He did his undergraduate work at the University of Helsinki, and has a Ph.D. from Stanford. He has worked in the business world (he was a consultant with Nokia and currently sits on their board) as well as in academic circles; he is a member and fellow of too many commitees and societies to count. He is the Paul A. Samuelson Professor of Economics at MIT, after working there for 12 years. He is currently on sabbatical according to their website. Holmström has written on "the economic theory of the firm, especially contracting and incentives, organisational and incentive design, executive compensation, capital management, labor contracting, and the role of liquidity in asset markets and the macroeconomy." He is being considered for the prize thanks mainly to his work on "incentives under asymmetric information."

Brit said...


Anonymous said...

Gordon Tullock, one of the economists Tyler Cowen is betting on, is a proffessor of economics at George Mason University. He was nominated for the nobel prize once before in 2003 but didn't win it. Not only does he teach economics at George Mason, but he also teaches law. This seems liks a strange combination, but he has used it to come up with some pretty important ideas and theories about why governments behave like they do. He is most famous for his work on public choice theory. This is exactly what we talked about in class earlier in the year. (where special interest groups have a lot of influence and can get alot of money even though the majority of people don't agree with them). Public choice theory is why government sometimes make decisions that don't seem to be in the best interests of the country. For instance the special interest group were talking about earlier in the year. The special interest group clearly gains from lobbying for money. The congressman get the support of the special interest group. The majority of people, however, are the ones paying the tax. However, since it is such a small sum (maybe a couple pennies per person) most people don't find it worth their time to protest or go against the special interest groups. Since the cost (in time) of defeating the lobbyists is greater than the cost of the tax, most people just make do with the tax. In this way governments can sometimes pass decisions that are actually disaproved of by most of society. Gordon Tullock pioneered this theory, which helps to explain our government a little better.

Anonymous said...

sorry that last one about Tullock was from me. (jacob Hormes) and my sources were

Anonymous said...

Paul Krugman is currently a professor of economics at the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He previously spent a year at the White House on the Council of Economic Advisors to the President (1982-3) and holds a Ph.D. in economics from MIT. He helped to establish the New Trade Theory (explained more thoroughly in his 20+ books) that addresses “the consequences of increasing returns and imperfect competition” in international trade and finance, his primary concentration ( Essentially, the “New Trade Theory,” which, of his many accomplishments, Krugman is probably most famous for, argues that there are more social and economic benefits realized by a state that imposes limits upon free trade, illustrated by the recent fiascos in developing Asian nations that, he argues, could have been averted by more unorthodox economic policies. Recently, he has begun writing op-ed columns for such famous publications as the New York Times, Fortune, and the Economist, purporting his neo-Keynesian philosophy; many of these articles also bluntly criticize the Bush administration’s both foreign and domestic economic policies. He is a member of the elite Group of Thirty, and in 1991 he won the John Bates Clark Medal, awarded by the American Economic Association for outstanding contributions to economics and recognized as one of the two most prestigious awards in the field. It is interesting to note that “around 40% of past Medal winners have gone on to win the more frequently-awarded Nobel (” Perhaps Krugman might, as well?

My sources are, and

-Nicole O.

Anonymous said...

I will do a profile of Oliver D. Hart, the Andrew E. Furer Professor of Economics at Harvard University. Hart is a very well learned and often awarded economist for his professional contributions. He has 3 main points of focus. The first is contract theory. Contract theory is "the set of ideas and assumptions that underpinned the development of contract law in England and the United States during the 19th century" ( The economic benefits of enforcing bargains (and thereofre providing incentives)is therefore the importance of this study. The way that contractual agreements affect economics is behind the theory. His second focus is the theory of the firm. The theory of the firm describes "the nature of the firm (company or corporation), including its behavior and its relationship with the market." ( This means that when it was first realized that perfect competition was not a good model for world economics, it became clear that “ownership of a typical US corporation is spread over a wide number of shareholders, leaving control in the hands of managers who own very little equity themselves” and that businessmen “made decisions by rule of thumb rather than in the marginalist way.” ( His last focus was corporate finance. Corporate finance is "a specific area of finance dealing with the financial decisions corporations make and the tools as well as analyses used to make these decisions. The primary goal of Corporate finance is to enhance corporate value, without taking excessive financial risks." ( The decisions of where to put money and how to divide it within a corporation is what is essentially behind this. He is up for the Nobel Prize along with Bengt Holmstrom and Oliver Williamson.

also considered-

-Kate Vanderlip