Edmund Phelps won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2006 for his contributions to the analysis of international trade-offs in macro-economic policies.
His interest in economics started in his second year at Amherst College (Massachusetts), when he attended an economics course given by James Nelson. He was impressed by the possibility of applying the formal analysis of one of his interests: business. He soon turned to the unresolved problems and defects of existing theory, such as the gap between micro-economics and macro-economics.
He continued at the University of Yale with prestigious professors like James Tobin and Thomas Schelling, both recognized with Nobel Prizes, and with such illustrious classmates as Arthur Okun. He got his PhD from Yale in 1959. His thesis showed that demand shocks have a greater impact than cost shocks in the correlation between changes in prices and changes in output.
After university, he went to work at the RAND Corporation, a defense research company. However, Phelps returned to academe in 1960, when he got a research job with the Cowles foundation that allowed him to meet other top-flight economists, while giving classes at Yale. His research at the Cowles foundation concerned the exogenous growth model, following the work of Robert Solow. As part of his research, Phelps published his article “The Golden rule of capital accumulation” the following year.
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