Professor Edmund Phelps Awarded Nobel Prize in Economics

October 9, 2006

Dear Fellow Columbian,

On behalf of the Columbia community, I congratulate our friend and colleague Edmund S. Phelps, McVickar Professor of Political Economy and director of the Center on Capitalism and Society at the Earth Institute, on being awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize in Economics by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences earlier today.

Professor Phelps received the Nobel prize for his pathbreaking scholarship on the inter-temporal effects of economic policy – work that demonstrates the importance of considering the future consequences of present economic decisions. His research examines the limits of human understanding, in particular, the impact of incomplete knowledge and information on such economic phenomena as inflation, wages, savings, innovation, and education. One of the many important outcomes of his work is that policy makers now have a much firmer grasp on the complex forces driving unemployment rates.

Professor Phelps’ scholarship, which has shaped the education of Columbia students for thirty-five years, illustrates the extraordinary breadth and depth of excellence in economics at Columbia. He stands in a long line of Columbians who have earned the Nobel prize by advancing the study of economics, including Simon Kuznets, Milton Friedman, George Stigler, Gary Becker, Robert Merton, and Joseph Stiglitz.

Please join me in congratulating Professor Phelps on this well-deserved honor and thanking him for sharing his life’s work with students, scholars, decision makers, and the world. His achievement – the result of a remarkable work ethic and passion for ideas – adds to Columbia’s rich history and serves as a model for future generations who strive to make a difference at the crossroads of what we know and still hope to know.


Lee C. Bollinger