George Joseph Stigler: Architect of Economic Theory and Nobel Laureate

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George Joseph Stigler (17 January 1911 – 1 December 1991) was an American economist. He won the 1984 Noble Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

Life and Career

He was born on 17 January 1911, in Seattle, Washington, U.S. In 1931, he graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1932, he earned an MBA from Northwestern University. He discovered his love of economics at Northwestern University and decided to move into academia.

In 1933, he enrolled at the University of Chicago and received his Ph.D. in 1938 under Professor Frank H. Knight. In his thesis, he explored the history of Neoclassical production and distribution theories between 1870 and 1915. From 1936 to 1938, he taught at Iowa State College. He joined the University of Minnesota in 1938, and then he joined the National Bureau of Economic Research. Later, he joined the Statistical Research Group of Allen Wallis at Columbia University. During World War II, he worked on the Manhattan Project at Columbia University. After that, he went to Brown University for a year. He worked at Columbia faculty from 1947 to 1958.

In 1963, he became Charles R. Walgreen distinguished service professor at American institutions. In 1977, he founded the Center for the Study of the Economy and the State in Chicago. In economics, Stigler has made notable contributions by studying the economics of information, which clarifies the traditional understanding of how markets work. He also studied public regulation and concluded it had little influence, and in most cases, it was not beneficial for consumers.

He served as president of the American Economic Association and the History of Economics Society in 1964 and 1977, respectively. From 1976 to 1978, he was President of the Mont Pelerin Society. There are a lot of publications by Stigler, including The Theory of Price (1942), a textbook on microeconomics; The Intellectual and the Market Place (1964); Essays in the History of Economic Thought (1965); The Citizen and the State (1975); and The Economist as Preacher, and Other Essays (1982).

He died on 1 December 1991 in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.

Awarda and Legacy

In 1982, he won the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics for “studies on industrial structure, markets, and public regulation”.