Nobel Prize Award for Economic Science 1969 to 1974

About the winners of the Nobel Peace Prize from 1969 to 1974 including Frisch, Arrow, and Leontief, as well as behind the scenes information on the decision.


1969 Ragnar Frisch (1895-1972), Norwegian.

Jan Tinbergen (1903- ), Dutch. Work: For development of econometrics--the application of mathematical and statistical methods to economic problems.

Behind the Award--The only prize not mentioned in Alfred Nobel's will, this one was instituted in 1968 by the Central Bank of Sweden to celebrate the bank's 300th anniversary. While the annual cash prize came from the bank, the winners were voted by the Swedish Royal Academy of Science.

1970 Paul Anthony Samuelson (1915- ), American. Work: For creating new scientific analysis to be used in economic theories.

1971 Simon Kuznets (1901- ), American. Work: For inventing the concept of Gross National Product.

Behind the Award--First winner who was never a government economic adviser. This Russian-born retired Harvard professor von the $86,400 prize over a field of 200 nominees.

1972 Kenneth J. Arrow (1921- ), American. John R. Hicks (1904- ). British. Work: For their pioneering contributions to general economic equilibrium theory and welfare theory.

Behind the Award--The pair shared a $98,100 award. Arrow said he needed his part of the money for personal security; Hicks said he would donate his half to the library of the London School of Economics. Arrow was also well known for his Impossibility Theorem, which mathematically proved "there is not, and in principle cannot be, any perfect form of government."

1973 Wassily Leontief (1906- ), American. Work: For devising the input-output formula that shows how changes in one economic sector affect performance in other sectors.

Behind the Award--He conceived his award-winning theory while a student at the University of Leningrad. As the 3rd American economics laureate to have emigrated from Russia, Leontief joked, "Do you think there should be an antitrust investigation?" A liberal who was sympathetic to the student uprisings at Harvard, Leontief once suggested that New York City's garbage problem could be solved by levying high taxes on bottles, plastic wrappings, other disposable commodities.

1974 Gunnar Myrdal (1899- ), Swedish.

Friedrich A. von Hayek (1899- ), Austrian. Work: For their pioneering work in the theory of money and economic fluctuations.

Behind the Award--Wrote Dr. Paul A. Samuelson, 1970 economics winner, of this award in The New York Times: "In no sense has their work been joint. Indeed, their policy conclusions, if followed literally, would be at loggerheads and self-canceling. . . . It is often charged that such award-granting committees are influenced by political beliefs, so that a 'liberal' like Jan Tinbergen of The Netherlands stands a better chance than a free-market 'conservative' like Milton Friedman. This may explain the coupling together of the interventionist do-gooder Dr. Myrdal with the unreconstructed Dr. von Hayek, who argued . . . that mild piecemeal reforms lead inevitably to the totalitarian hell of Hitler and Stalin."

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