Robert Lucas, Jr.

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Robert Emerson Lucas, Jr.
Born (1937-09-15) September 15, 1937 (age 77)
Yakima, Washington, USA
Nationality United States
Institution Carnegie Mellon University
University of Chicago
Field Macroeconomics
School/tradition New classical macroeconomics
Alma mater University of Chicago
Influences Arnold Harberger
H. Gregg Lewis
Milton Friedman
Robert Solow
Influenced Thomas J. Sargent
Robert Barro
Neil Wallace
Lawrence Summers
Richard Thaler
William A. Barnett
Paul Romer
Contributions Rational expectations
Lucas critique
Behavioral Economics
Awards Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (1995)
Information at IDEAS/RePEc

Robert Emerson Lucas, Jr. (born September 15, 1937) is an American economist at the University of Chicago. He received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1995. He has been characterized by N. Gregory Mankiw as "the most influential macroeconomist of the last quarter of the 20th century."[1]

Biography[edit]

He was born in 1937, in Yakima, Washington, the oldest child of Robert Emerson Lucas and Jane Templeton Lucas.

He received his B.A. in History in 1959 and Ph.D. in Economics in 1964, both from the University of Chicago. Lucas studied economics for his PhD on "quasi-Marxist" grounds. He believed that economics was the true driver of history, and so he planned to fully immerse himself in economics and then migrate back to the history department.[2] Following graduation, Lucas taught at the Graduate School of Industrial Administration (now Tepper School of Business) at Carnegie Mellon University until 1975, when he returned to the University of Chicago.[3]

His ex-wife, Rita Lucas, upon their divorce in 1988, had a clause placed in their divorce settlement that she would receive half of any Nobel Prize won by Lucas in the next seven years. When Lucas did win the Nobel Prize in 1995 (falling just within the time limit), she was awarded half of the prize money.[4] He has lived with Nancy Stokey. They have collaborated in papers on growth theory, public finance, and monetary theory.

Robert Lucas has three sons, Stephen Lucas and Joseph Lucas.

A collection of Lucas' papers are housed at the Rubenstein Library at Duke University.[5]

Contributions[edit]

Rational expectations[edit]

Lucas is well known for his investigations into the implications of the assumption of rational expectations. Lucas (1972) incorporates the idea of rational expectations into a dynamic general equilibrium model. The agents in Lucas's model are rational: based on the available information, they form expectations about future prices and quantities, and based on these expectations they act to maximize their expected lifetime utility. He also provide sound theoretical fundamental to Milton Friedman and Edmund Phelps's view of the long-run neutrality of money, and provide an explanation of the correlation between output and inflation, depicted by the Phillips curve.

Lucas critique[edit]

Lucas (1976) challenged the foundations of macroeconomic theory (previously dominated by the Keynesian economics approach), arguing that a macroeconomic model should be built as an aggregated version of microeconomic models (while noting that aggregation in the theoretical sense may not be possible within a given model). He developed the "Lucas critique" of economic policymaking, which holds that relationships that appear to hold in the economy, such as an apparent relationship between inflation and unemployment, could change in response to changes in economic policy. This led to the development of new classical macroeconomics and the drive towards microeconomic foundations for macroeconomic theory.

Other contributions[edit]

He developed a theory of supply that suggests people can be tricked by unsystematic monetary policy; the Lucas-Uzawa model (with Hirofumi Uzawa) of human capital accumulation; and the "Lucas paradox", which considers why more capital does not flow from developed countries to developing countries. Lucas (1988) is a seminal contribution in the economic development and growth literature. Lucas and Paul Romer heralded the birth of endogenous growth theory and the resurgence of research on economic growth in the late 1980s and the 1990s.

He also contributed foundational contributions to behavioral economics, and has provided the intellectual foundation that enables us to understand deviations from the law of one price based on the irrationality of investors.

In 2003, he proclaimed, the “central problem of depression-prevention has been solved, for all practical purposes, and has in fact been solved for many decades.”[6]

Bibliography[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mankiw, N. Gregory (September 21, 2009). "Back In Demand". Wall Street Journal. 
  2. ^ Roberts, Russ (February 5, 2007). "Lucas on Growth, Poverty and Business Cycles". EconTalk. Library of Economics and Liberty. 
  3. ^ Pressman, Steven (1999). Fifty Major Economists. London: Routledge. pp. 193–197. ISBN 0-415-13481-1. 
  4. ^ "Boston Globe Archive access". The Boston Globe. July 19, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Robert E. Lucas Papers, 1960–2004 and undated". Rubenstein Library, Duke University. 
  6. ^ "The New York Times". The New York Times. January 4, 2009. 

External links[edit]