Lives of the Laureates offers readers an informal history of modern economic thought as told through autobiographical essays by eighteen winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics. The essays not only provide unique insights into major economic ideas of our time but also shed light on the processes of intellectual discovery and creativity. This fourth edition adds five new Nobel laureates to its list of contributors: Gary S. Becker, recipient in 1992; John C. Harsanyi, co-recipient in 1994; Robert E. Lucas, Jr., recipient in 1995; Myron S. Scholes, co-recipient in 1997; and James J. Heckman, co-recipient in 2000. This edition also includes a new afterword by the editors, "Lessons from the Laureates."
Some common motivating themes emerge: the importance of real world events and a desire for relevance - as seen in James Tobin's decision to enter economics in order to understand the ruin caused by the Great Depression and in Gary Becker's recourse to economics to help him understand inequality, race, and class; the influence of great teachers - several cite the charismatic Milton Friedman; and the role of chance in their careers - the "lucky accidents" that set them on one path rather than another. Together, these individual accounts give what the editors call a "comprehensive picture of the diverseness, richness, and profundity that is the hallmark of contemporary economic thought in America."
William Breit is E. M. Stevens Distinguished Professor of Economics, Emeritus, and Barry Hirsch is E. M. Stevens Distinguished Professor of Economics, both at Trinity University.