William Nordhaus Biography
William Nordhaus Biography
William Nordhaus Biography
William Nordhaus Biography
William Nordhaus Biography
William Nordhaus Biography

William Nordhaus Biography


William Nordhaus

Birth Date

May 31, 1941, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.


Yale University (B.A., M.A.)

Sciences Po Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Ph.D.)

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Who is William Nordhaus?

William Dawbney Nordhaus (born May 31, 1941) is an American economist, a Sterling Professor of Economics at Yale University, best known for his work in economic modeling and climate change, and one of the 2 recipients of the 2018 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Nordhaus received the prize "for integrating climate change into long-run macroeconomic analysis".

Education & Career

Nordhaus was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the son of Virginia (Riggs) and Robert J. Nordhaus, who co-founded the Sandia Peak Tramway. Robert J. Nordhaus was from a German Jewish family – his father Max Nordhaus (1865–1936) immigrated from Paderborn in 1883 and was a manager of The Charles Ilfeld Company branch in Albuquerque. Nordhaus graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover and subsequently received his BA and MA from Yale in 1963 and 1973, respectively, where he was a member of Skull and Bones. He also holds a Certificate from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques (1962) and a PhD from MIT (1967). He was a Visiting Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge in 1970–1971. He has been a member of the faculty at Yale since 1967, in both the Economics department and the School of the Environment. Nordhaus also served as its Provost from 1986–1988 and its Vice President for Finance and Administration from 1992–1993. He has been on the Brookings Panel on Economic Activity since 1972. During the Carter administration, from 1977–1979, Nordhaus was a member of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Contributions to Economics

The Study of Climate Change

Nordhaus is the author or editor of over 20 books. One of his early works, he partnered with Paul Samuelson as a co- author for an introductory textbook entitled Economics. Nordhaus worked alongside Samuelson from the 12th edition until the 19th, starting in 1985. It was first published in 1948 and has appeared in nineteen different editions and seventeen different languages. It was known as a best-selling economics textbook for decades and is still extremely popular today. Economics was called a “canonical textbook”, and the development of mainstream economic thought has been traced by comparing the nineteen editions over the 1948–2010 period. He has also written several books on global warming and climate change, one of his primary areas of research. Those books include Managing the Global Commons: The Economics of Climate Change (1994), which won the 2006 Award for "Publication of Enduring Quality" from the Association of Environmental and Resource Economics. Another book, with Joseph Boyer, is Warming the World: Economic Models of Global Warming (2000), The Climate Casino: Risk, Uncertainty, and Economics for a Warming World. His most recent book is The Spirit of Green (2021). In 1972 Nordhaus, along with fellow Yale economics professor James Tobin, published Is Growth Obsolete?, an article that introduced the Measure of Economic Welfare (Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare) as the first attempt to develop environmental accounting. Nordhaus is also known for his critique of current measures of national income. He wrote, "If we are to obtain accurate estimates of the growth of real incomes over the last century, we must somehow construct price indexes that account for the vast changes in the quality and range of goods and services that we consume, that somehow compare the services of horse with automobile, of Pony Express with facsimile machine, of carbon paper with photocopier, of dark and lonely nights with nights spent watching television, and of brain surgery with magnetic resonance imaging" (1997, 30).

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