Robert Lucas, Jr.

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Robert Emerson Lucas, Jr. (born September 15, 1937, Yakima, Washington) is an American economist at the University of Chicago. He received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1995 and is consistently indexed among the top 10 economists in the Research Papers in Economics rankings.[1] He is married to economist Nancy Stokey.

He received his B.A. in History in 1959 and Ph.D. in Economics in 1964, both from the University of Chicago. He taught at the Graduate School of Industrial Administration (now Tepper School of Business) at Carnegie Mellon University until 1975, when he returned to the University of Chicago.

One of the most influential economists since the 1970s, he challenged the foundations of macroeconomic theory (previously dominated by the Keynesian economics approach), arguing that a macroeconomic model should be built as an aggregated version of microeconomic models (while noting that aggregation in the theoretical sense may not be possible within a given model). He developed the "Lucas critique" of economic policymaking, which holds that relationships that appear to hold in the economy, such as an apparent relationship between inflation and unemployment, could change in response to changes in economic policy. This led to the development of neoclassical and New Keynesian economics and the drive towards microeconomic foundations for macroeconomic theory.

Lucas is also well known for his investigations into the implications of the assumption of rational expectations. He developed a theory of supply that suggests people can be tricked by unsystematic monetary policy; the Lucas-Uzawa model (with Hirofumi Uzawa) of human capital accumulation; and the "Lucas paradox", which considers why more capital does not flow from developed countries to developing countries.

His ex-wife, Rita Lucas, upon their divorce in 1988, had a clause placed in their divorce settlement that she would receive half of any Nobel Prize won by Lucas in the next seven years. When Lucas did win the Nobel Prize in 1995 (falling just within the time limit), she was awarded half of the prize money.[2]

Lucas studied Economics for his PhD on "quasi-Marxist" grounds. He believed that economics was the true driver of history, and so he planned to fully immerse himself in economics and then migrate back to the history department.[3]



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