Lessons from the Laureates

23 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2009

See all articles by William Breit

William Breit

Trinity University

Barry T. Hirsch

IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Georgia State University

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This paper uses as source material twenty-three autobiographical essays by Nobel economists presented since 1984 at Trinity University (San Antonio, Texas) and published in Lives of the Laureates (MIT Press). A goal of the lecture series is to enhance understanding of the link between biography and the development of modern economic thought. We explore this link and identify common themes in the essays, relying heavily on the words of the laureates. Common themes include the importance of real-world events coupled with a desire for rigor and relevance, the critical influence of teachers, the necessity of scholarly interaction, and the role of luck or happenstance. Most of the laureates view their research program not as one planned in advance but one that evolved via the marketplace for ideas.

Keywords: Nobel economists, economic thought, autobiography

JEL Classification: B3, B2, A1

Suggested Citation

Breit, William and Hirsch, Barry T. and Hirsch, Barry T., Lessons from the Laureates. IZA Discussion Paper No. 3956, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1336053 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1336053

William Breit (Contact Author)

Trinity University ( email )

San Antonio, TX 78212
United States

Barry T. Hirsch

Georgia State University ( email )

Department of Economics
Andrew Young School of Policy Studies
Atlanta, GA 30302-3992
United States
404-413-0880 (Phone)
404-413-0145 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://unionstats.gsu.edu/bhirsch

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

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