Nobel Prize Award for Economic Science 1969 to 1975

About the Nobel Prize Award for Economic Science from 1969 to 1975 including winners Frisch and Kantorovich, their works, and history.


1969 Ragnar Frisch (1895-1973), Norwegian Jan Tinbergen (1903- ), Dutch

Work: Development of econometrics (the application of mathematical and statistical methods to economic problems)

1970 Paul A. Samuelson (1915- ), American

Work: The application of a new scientific analysis to economic theories

1971 Simon Kuznets (1901- ), American

Work: Introduction of the concept of Gross National Product

1972 Kenneth J. Arrow (1921- ), American John R. Hicks (1904- ), British

Work: Pioneering contributions to general equilibrium theory and welfare theory

1973 Wassily Leontief (1906- ), American (b. Russia)

Work: Development of input-output analysis showing how changes in one economic variable affect performance in other sectors

1974 Gunnar Myrdal (1899- ), Swedish Friedrich A. von Hayek (1899- ), Austrian

Work: Original contributions in the theory of money and economic fluctuations

1975 Leonid V. Kantorovich (1912- ), Russian

Tjalling C. Koopmans (1910- ), American (b. the Netherlands)

Work: Application of statistical methods to optimum resource allocation

Nobel Laureates: Yale president Kingman Brewster described Professor Koopmans as "the father figure of our crop of mathematically sophisticated economists." Originally a physicist and mathematician, Koopmans received his doctorate in economics in 1936 from the University of Leiden. He came to the U.S. in 1940 as a research associate at Princeton, and after the war joined the Cowles Commission for Research, which moved from the University of Chicago to Yale in 1955. Despite his demanding research work, Koopmans still teaches courses at the undergraduate level. A quiet, scholarly individual, he enjoys chess and playing the violin. Koopmans has a wife and three grown children.

The Soviet-born Kantorovich anticipated Koopmans's work. In 1939, secure in his reputation as a mathematician, he proposed a radical planning technique--linear programming--to the Soviet government. His ideas were dismissed as lunacy, but later found an audience with the more liberal post-Stalinist leaders. Now with the Institute of Economic Management in Moscow, he was awarded the Lenin Prize in 1965 for his work in resource allocation. That the Stalinists considered him a crackpot was fortunate, Kantorovich feels, since departures from orthodoxy by sane individuals were grounds for arrest or worse. The Soviet economist has two children, who have also gone into mathematical economics; his wife, Natalya, is a physician.

Nobel Lore: Though respected by fellow economists, Kantorovich and Koopmans were relatively obscure in a field that has produced several big names in recent years. But as Kingman Brewster noted, "The Nobel Prize doesn't follow the headlines. It's given for the enduring significance of a person's contribution." That the award was shared by an American and a Russian reflects the convergence of the two economies toward a mixture of free-market policies and central planning. The two economists had been corresponding since the mid-1950s, a departure from the usual Soviet isolation of ideas.

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