Nobel Prize Award for Economic Science 1976 to 1977

About the Nobel Prize Award for Economic Science from 1976 to 1977 including winners Friedman and Ohlin, their works, and history.


1976 Milton Friedman (1912- ), American

Work: Monetary theory; permanent income hypothesis

Nobel Laureate: Friedman was being honored for his development of a monetary theory, which postulates that economic growth and stability are best achieved by a steady increase in the money supply, not by the minute fiscal adjustments prescribed by the Keynesians. An ardent defender of free-market policies, Friedman has proposed a voucher system for public education, and the abolition of social security, and a graduated income tax. A longtime Nixon adviser, he broke from the president in 1971 over the wage-price freeze, which he felt was "pure window dressing that will do more harm than good."

Born in Brooklyn of immigrant parents, Friedman worked his way through Rutgers and received his Ph.D. from Columbia. He then joined the faculty at the University of Chicago, where he has earned something of a following. A small man with an incisive manner, Friedman is respected even by his critics for his intellectual acuity and integrity. His son David, an economist at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, has taken up the laissez-faire banner; his daughter is a San Francisco lawyer.

Nobel Lore: Some observers, including 1970 Nobel laureate Paul Samuelson, felt that Friedman's outspoken political views may have prevented him from receiving the award sooner. Several Nobel winners argued that his alleged association with the Chilean military junta (an involvement that Friedman denies) should have disqualified him.

1977 Bertil Ohlin (1899- ), Swedish

James Edward Meade (1907- ), British

Work: Path-breaking contributions to the theory of international trade, specifically, international capital movement

Nobel Laureates: Ohlin was born in Klippan in southern Sweden and quickly distinguished himself as a child prodigy. He received his doctorate at age 20, flamboyantly entered the economic scene a year later, and attained a full professorship in Copenhagen at age 25. He headed Sweden's Liberal party from 1944 to 1967. Still a dashing man, Ohlin is notorious for his lack of inhibitions in expressing his boredom or disdain; at important meetings he has been known to read a newspaper while an opponent is speaking.

Meade was trained at Oxford and achieved international fame in his early 30s as the chief economist for the League of Nations in Geneva. During W.W. II, he and John Maynard Keynes literally ran the British economy. Meade retired as a professor of political economy at Cambridge University in 1968, but he is still a senior research fellow there. At present he is the chairman of an important committee reviewing Britain's tax structure.

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