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Lessons from the Laureates


  • Breit, William

    () (Trinity University)

  • Hirsch, Barry

    () (Georgia State University)


This paper uses as source material twenty-three autobiographical essays by Nobel economists presented since 1984 at Trinity University (San Antonio, Texas) and published in Lives of the Laureates (MIT Press). A goal of the lecture series is to enhance understanding of the link between biography and the development of modern economic thought. We explore this link and identify common themes in the essays, relying heavily on the words of the laureates. Common themes include the importance of real-world events coupled with a desire for rigor and relevance, the critical influence of teachers, the necessity of scholarly interaction, and the role of luck or happenstance. Most of the laureates view their research program not as one planned in advance but one that evolved via the marketplace for ideas.

Suggested Citation

  • Breit, William & Hirsch, Barry, 2009. "Lessons from the Laureates," IZA Discussion Papers 3956, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3956

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Nobel economists; autobiography; economic thought;

    JEL classification:

    • B3 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals
    • B2 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925
    • A1 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics

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