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November 03, 2011

Faces to Names

When you study  economics, you  become familiar with the names of famous economists - those associated with a specific theory,  those who are authorities on a particular subject. In short, influential economists.

One tries to understand and apply their methods in the work place. One refers to their writings to explain important economic theories to students. I have done both for some years, without bothering about the faces behind the names. Formerly one could see an economist's face only on the covers of his books. Now we have access to unlimited images on the internet. We  can easily link faces to names.

Influential Economists
Arrow, Klein, Lucas and Laffer are among the current influential economists whose works I have tried to study and teach. Now I can also recognise their faces!

Lawrence Klein
Nobel laureate. Father of modern econometrics.
Famous for:
Computerised macro models, analysis of business fluctuations, economic forecasting.

Kenneth Arrow
Nobel laureate.  Pioneer mathematical  economist.
Famous for:
Neo-classical theory, social choice, general equilibrium, imperfect markets and uncertainty.

Robert Lucas
Nobel Laureate. Neo-classical economist.
Famous for:
Rational expectations, micro-economic foundation of macroeconomics, Lucas critique, Lucas paradox, monetary policy.

Arthur Laffer
Supply side economist.
Famous for:
Laffer curve, fiscal policy and taxation, Reagonomics.

As an afterthought, I decided to include Keynes (he died in 1946) in this list of living economists. For two reasons: One, he was arguably the most influential economist of the 20th century and two, because I like his quote "Long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead."

John Maynard Keynes
Founder of modern macroeconomics.
Famous for:
  • His treatise: The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.
  • Keynesian theory, named after his path-breaking new concepts.
  • Influencing the policies of governments.
  • Being the wellspring from which many outstanding economists (Hicks, Tobin, Samuelson, Solow, Okun et al) have drawn inspiration.

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