My Journeys in Economic Theory
by Edmund Phelps
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Pub Date 16 May 2023 | Archive Date 23 Aug 2023
Edmund Phelps is among the most important economists of his generation. He developed a new understanding of unemployment and inflation and went on to rethink the roots of innovation. His work represents a lifelong project to put “people as we know them” into economic theory.
In this book, Phelps tells the story of his role in reshaping economic theory, offering a powerful personal account of a creative and rewarding career. My Journeys in Economic Theory charts two major phases of Phelps’s work, illuminating the breadth of his contributions to the field. First, introducing the expectations of wage setters and co-founding the “equilibrium” rate of unemployment, he built the microeconomic foundations for the employment theory introduced by Keynes and Hicks. More recently, he conceived a theory of “mass flourishing” superseding Schumpeter and Solow’s analysis of growth— a theory in which individuals’ creativity and society’s dynamism fuel both grassroots innovation and job satisfaction.
Phelps recounts his vivid experiences in the world of economics—fierce arguments, competition and collaboration, and the good fortune of time spent among some great figures—as well as his relationships with other luminaries such as John Rawls, Thomas Nagel, Paul Samuelson, and Paul Volcker. At its core, this book shares the joy of intellectual achievement: the excitement of coming up with a new idea that radically departs from prevailing views and the satisfaction of exercising one’s own ingenuity instead of applying or developing others’ models. Telling the story of a life packed with intellectual adventure, My Journeys in Economic Theory offers a profound vision of a dynamic, modern economy that delivers lives rich with creativity and meaning.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Edmund Phelps, the winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2006, is the founding director of the Center on Capitalism and Society and McVickar Professor Emeritus of Political Economy at Columbia University.
"Ned Phelps has always been one of the most brilliant and most deep-thinking of the economists who came of age in the 1960s. This memoir impresses the reader with how deeply and broadly Phelps has been thinking throughout his career. My Journeys in Economic Theory will repair the ignorance of the underappreciated depth of Phelps’ contributions."
--Bradford DeLong, author of Slouching Towards Utopia: An Economic History of the Twentieth Century