Edmund Phelps is McVickar Professor of Political Economy at Columbia University, Director of Columbia’s Center on Capitalism and Society. He was the winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Economics. His career began with a stint at the RAND Corporation. Back east in 1960, he held positions at Yale and its Cowles Foundation until 1966, then a professorship for five years at Penn. In 1970 he moved to New York and joined Columbia in 1971. Phelps’s work can be seen as a program to put “people as we know them” back into economic models – to take into account the incompleteness of their information and their knowledge and to study the effects of their expectations and beliefs on the workings of markets. He has adopted this perspective in studying unemployment and inclusion, economic growth, business swings and economic dynamism.
Phelps recently served as Senior Advisor to the project Italy in Europe at the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Italy, for three years until May 2000. He was a member of the International Panel on Economic Policy of the OFCE in Paris in the 1990s, and co-organizer of the annual Villa Mondragone seminar of the University of Rome 'Tor Vergata' from 1990 to 2000. He was a charter member of the Economic Advisory council of the EBRD and wrote most of the Annual Economic Outlook, which appeared in September 1993. He has been a consultant at the U.S. Treasury Department, U.S. Senate Finance Committee, and Federal Reserve Board. In 2001 Phelps founded with Roman Frydman the Center on Capitalism & Society at Columbia (now a unit of Arts and Sciences) to promote and conduct research on capitalism.
His books include Fiscal Neutrality toward Economic Growth and Golden Rules of Economic Growth, his selected papers in Studies in Macroeconomic Theory, the reader Economic Justice, a conference volume Altruism, Morality and Economic Theory, his textbook Political Economy, the monograph with J.P. Fitoussi, The Slump in Europe , and his Arne Ryde lectures Seven Schools of Macroeconomic Thought.
Phelps holds many honorary doctorates and professorships, including from the Université libre de Bruxelles (2010), Tsinghua University (2007) and the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (2006), among others. Phelps is a Fellow of the National Academy of Science and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association, and in 2001 a Festschrift conference was held in his honor. In 2008, he was named Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur and awarded the Premio Pico della Mirandola and the Kiel Global Economy Prize. The same year the UBA Law School established the Catedra Phelps and the Phelps Medal for Innovation. In 2010, he was appointed Dean of New Huadu Business School at Minjiang University in Fuzhou. In 2011, Professor Phelps received the Louise Blouin Creative Leadership Award and was named a Full Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and in 2012 he was elected an Honorary Patron of the University Philosophical Society of Trinity College and was awarded the Mendeleev Medal for Achievement in the Sciences.
Phelps was elected to the National Academy of Sciences (USA) in 1981, was made a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association in 2000, and was elected to be a full member of the Russian Academy of Science in December of 2011. (Citation.) He is also a former vice-president of the Association, a fellow of the Econometric Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the New York Academy of Sciences. He was a Guggenheim fellow in 1978, a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavior Science in 1969-70 and visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation in 1993-94. He holds a Ph.D. from Yale University (1959). In 1985 he was awarded an honorary degree from his alma mater, Amherst College. In June 2001 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Mannheim and from the University of Rome “Tor Vergata,” in October 2003 from Universidade Nova Lisboa, in July 2004 from University of Paris Dauphine and in October 2004 from the University of Iceland. He was made an honorary professor at the Renmin University, Beijing, in May 2004. He also holds honorary doctorates from the Institut d'Etudes des Sciences Politiques de Paris (2006), the Universidad de Buenos Aires (2007), Tsinghua University (2007), and the Université libre de Bruxelles (2010). An international Festschrift in his honor was held at Columbia University in October 2001 and the 600 page conference volume was published by Princeton University Press in 2003 (Knowledge, Information and Expectations in Modern Economics P. Aghion, R. Frydman, J.E. Stiglitz and M. Woodford, eds.)