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Lives of the LaureatesTwenty-three Nobel Economists$
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Roger W. Spencer and David A. Macpherson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027960

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027960.001.0001

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Kenneth J. Arrow

Kenneth J. Arrow

(p.17) Kenneth J. Arrow
Lives of the Laureates

Roger W. Spencer

David A. Macpherson

The MIT Press

This chapter describes the life and work of Kenneth J. Arrow who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1972. Arrow was born in 1921, attended City College, and received his Ph.D. from Columbia University. He held the position of professor of economics, statistics, and operations research at Stanford University from 1953–1968. He was interested in the history of economic thought, particularly with reference to the relative importance of different factors in the development of new ideas. He studied developments in fields related to economics. For example, he looked at existence theorems using abstract and mathematical concepts. This research lead him to search for more applications of general equilibrium theory. He introduced the concept of contingent contracts, postulating on the existence of insurance against all conceivable risks. He developed a theorist's view of the economics of medical care for the Ford Foundation. Two books he wrote were Essays in the Theory of Risk-Bearing and The Limits of Organization.

Keywords:   Kenneth J. Arrow, history of economic thought, existence theorems, contingent contracts

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