Edmund Phelps

Edmund Strother Phelps (born July 26, 1933) is an American economist and the recipient of the 2006 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

Edmund Phelps
Edmund Phelps in New York, 2017
Born (1933-07-26) July 26, 1933 (age 88)
NationalityUnited States
InstitutionColumbia University 1971–
University of Pennsylvania
FieldMacroeconomics
Alma materYale University
Amherst College
Doctoral
advisor
James Tobin
Arthur Okun
Doctoral
students
Gylfi Zoega
InfluencesPaul Samuelson
William Fellner
Thomas Schelling
John Rawls
ContributionsMicrofoundations of macroeconomics
Expectations in wage and price-setting
Natural rate of unemployment
Statistical discrimination
Structural slumps
Imagination in innovating
Golden Rule rate of saving
AwardsNobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, 2006
Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur, 2008
Pico Mirandola Prize, 2008
Global Economy Prize, 2008
China Friendship Award, 2014

Early in his career, he became known for his research at Yale's Cowles Foundation in the first half of the 1960s on the sources of economic growth. His demonstration of the golden rule savings rate, a concept related to work by John von Neumann, started a wave of research on how much a nation should spend on present consumption rather than save and invest for future generations.

Phelps was at the University of Pennsylvania from 1966 to 1971 and moved to Columbia University in 1971. His most seminal work inserted a microfoundation, one featuring imperfect information, incomplete knowledge and expectations about wages and prices, to support a macroeconomic theory of employment determination and price-wage dynamics. That led to his development of the natural rate of unemployment: its existence and the mechanism governing its size. In the early 2000s, he turned to the study of business innovation.

He is the founding director, since 2001, of Columbia's Center on Capitalism and Society. He has been McVickar Professor of Political Economy at Columbia since 1982.