About Kenneth Arrow, Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, 1972
Kenneth Joseph Arrow (born August 23, 1921) is an American economist and joint winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics with John Hicks in 1972. To date, he is the youngest person to have received this award, at 51.
In economics, he is considered an important figure in post-World War II neo-classical economic theory. Many of his former graduate students have gone on to win the Nobel Memorial Prize themselves. Arrow's impact on the economics profession has been tremendous. For more than fifty years he has been one of the most influential of all practicing economists.
His most significant works are his contributions to social choice theory, notably "Arrow's impossibility theorem", and his work on general equilibrium analysis. He has also provided foundational work in many other areas of economics, including endogenous growth theory and the economics of information.
Arrow was born on August 23, 1921, in New York City to parents of Romanian Jewish origins. His family was very supportive of his education.
He graduated from Townsend Harris High School and then earned a Bachelor's degree from the City College of New York in 1940 in mathematics, where he was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon. At Columbia University, he received a Master's degree in 1941. From 1946 to 1949 he spent his time partly as a graduate student at Columbia and partly as a research associate at the Cowles Commission for Research in Economics at the University of Chicago. During that time he also held the rank of Assistant Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago. In 1951 he earned his Ph.D. from Columbia.
Arrow is brother to the economist Anita Summers, uncle to economist Larry Summers, and brother-in-law of the economist Robert Summers.
Arrow and his wife Selma have two children, sons David and Andrew, both actors. Andrew is married to actress Donna Lynne Champlin.
He is currently the Joan Kenney Professor of Economics and Professor of Operations Research, Emeritus at Stanford University. He is also a founding member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
He is a trustee of Economists for Peace and Security. He was a convening lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He is also Editor of the Annual Review of Economics.
Five of his former students have gone on to become Nobel Prize winners. These include Eric Maskin, John Harsanyi, Michael Spence and Roger Myerson.
He served in the government on the staff of the Council of Economic Advisers in the 1960s with Robert Solow.
A collection of Arrow's papers are housed at the Rubenstein Library at Duke University.
Awards and honors
Arrow was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1959. He was one of the recipients of the 2004 National Medal of Science, the nation's highest scientific honor, presented by President George W. Bush for his contributions to research on the problem of making decisions using imperfect information and his research on bearing risk.