© The Nobel Foundation
Kenneth J. Arrow

American Jewish Recipients of the Nobel Prize

Kenneth J. Arrow: Nobel Prize
in Economics Recipient

by Seymour “Sy” Brody

Kenneth J. Arrow is an American Jewish recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics, in 1972. He shared this award with John R. Hicks of England, “for their pioneering contributions to general economics equilibrium theory and welfare theory.” He was the youngest person to win this award at the age of 51.

Arrow was born on August 23, 1921, in New York City. His parents were Jewish and very supportive of his education. He graduated Townsend Harris High School and went to City College of New York, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Science with a major in Mathematics, in 1940.

He received a Master of Arts degree in Mathematics, from Columbia University, in 1941. His graduate study for his Ph.D. degree was interrupted by World War II. He served as a weather officer in the United States Air Force and reached the rank of a captain. After World War II, he continued his graduate studies at Columbia University until he received his PH.D. Degree in 1951.

During the five years before he received his doctorate, he was partly as a research associate for the Cowles Commission for Research in Economics at the University of Chicago with the rank of Associate Professor of Economics, 1948-4949. He was appointed as an Acting Professor of Economics and Statistics at Stanford University, eventually becoming a full professor, 1949-1968.

Kenneth Arrow received many prestigious awards and appointments:
● He was Social Science Research Fellow, 1952
● A Fellow of the Center of Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, 1956-1957
● Economist on the staff on the United States Council of Economic Advisors, 1962
● Executive Head of the Department of Economics at Stanford University, 1953-1956
● Fellow of Churchill College, at Cambridge, England, 1963-1964
● Guest Professor, Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna, in 1964 and 1971
● Professor of Economics, Harvard University, 1968
● John Bates Clark Medal of the American Economic Association, 1957
● Elected to membership of the National Academy of Sciences
● Elected to membership of the American Philosophical Society
● A Fellow American Academy of Arts and Sciences
● A Fellow of the Econometric Society
● A Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics
● A Fellow of the American Statistical Association
● Honorary LL.D. degrees from the University of Chicago, 1967, and City University of New York, 1972
● A Doctor of Social and Economic Sciences from the University of Vienna, 1971
● President of Econometric Society, 1956
● President of the Institute of Management Sciences,1963
● President-elect of the American Economic Association, 1972

In 1947, he married Selma Schweitzer and they had two sons, David Michael and Andrew Seth.

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