Akerlof, George Arthur

Akerlof, George Arthur, 1940–, American economist, b. New Haven, Conn., B.A. Yale, 1962, Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1966. He has been a professor at the Univ. of California, Berkeley (1966–78, 1980–) and the London School of Economics (1978–80) and served as a senior staff economist on the Council of Economic Advisers (1973–74). In 2001 he shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Joseph Stiglitz and Michael Spence for their work explaining how asymmetries with respect to information affect markets. Akerloff's seminal paper on the subject discussed the issue with respect to the used-car market, where sellers have more information than buyers. He has also examined how a person's social identity affects their economic behavior and how conditions can lead business executives to loot their businesses for personal profit rather than grow the business. Akerlof's books include Efficiency Wage Models of the Labor Market (1986, with Janet Yellen, his wife), Explorations in Pragmatic Economics (2005, with coauthors; containing his most important papers), Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism (2009, with R. Schiller), Identity Economics: How Our Identities Shape Our Work, Wages, and Well-Being (2010, with R. E. Kranton), and What Have We Learned?: Macroeconomic Policy after the Crisis (2014, with O. Blanchard, D. Romer, and J. Stiglitz).

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