JEWISH NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS IN ECONOMICS
(40% of world total, 51% of US total)
Listed below are recipients of the Nobel Prize in economics who were, or are, Jewish (or of half- or three-quarters-Jewish descent, as noted). The percentages given above are those corresponding to only those names that appear explicitly on the list below (i.e., the percentages do not include any of the "others" discussed in the footnotes).
- Paul Samuelson # (1970)
- Simon Kuznets # (1971)
- Kenneth Arrow # (1972)
- Wassily Leontief 1 (1973)
- Leonid Kantorovich # (1975)
- Milton Friedman # (1976)
- Herbert Simon #,2 (1978)
- Lawrence Klein # (1980)
- Franco Modigliani # (1985)
- Robert Solow # (1987)
- Harry Markowitz # (1990)
- Merton Miller 3 (1990)
- Gary Becker # (1992)
- Robert Fogel 4 (1993)
- John Harsanyi 5 (1994)
- Reinhard Selten 6 (1994)
- Robert Merton 7 (1997)
- Myron Scholes 8 (1997)
- George Akerlof 9 (2001)
- Joseph Stiglitz 10 (2001)
- Daniel Kahneman 11 (2002)
- Robert Aumann 12 (2005)
- Leonid (Leo) Hurwicz 13 (2007)
- Eric Maskin 14 (2007)
- Roger Myerson 15 (2007)
- Paul Krugman 16 (2008)
- Elinor Ostrom 17 (2009)
- Peter Diamond 18 (2010)
- Alvin Roth 19 (2012)
- Oliver Hart 20 (2016)
- Richard Thaler 21 (2017)
- William Nordhaus 22 (2018)
- Others 23
# Encyclopaedia Judaica (1997 CD ROM edition). (This source was listed by the Library Journal as one of its "Top 50 Reference Works of the Millennium.")
1. Jewish mother, non-Jewish father; see Genia and Wassily by Estelle Marks Leontief (Zephyr Press, Sommerville, MA, 1987, pp. 8 and 18).
2. Jewish father, mother of partial Jewish ancestry; see Models of My Life by Herbert A. Simon (BasicBooks, New York, NY, 1991, pp. 3, 17, 112, 262).
3. See Jewish-American History and Culture: An Encyclopedia, edited by Jack Fischel and Sanford Pinsker (Garland, New York, NY, 1992), and The Timetables of Jewish History, by Judah Gribetz (Simon and Schuster, New York, NY, 1993, p. 713). Who's Who in American Jewry, 1938 contains a self-submitted entry for the father of Merton Miller, Joel Lewis Miller.
4. See December 1993 issue of Cornell Magazine, where Fogel is described as being "the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants" in an article entitled Outstanding in Distant Fields, by Daniel Gross.
5. Son of Hungarian-Jewish parents who converted to Catholicism the year before Harsanyi's birth. See "Berkeley Economist Shares Nobel" in the October 12, 1994 edition (p. A1) of The San Francisco Chronicle; "Nobel winner was saved from Nazis by Jesuit priest" in the October 21, 1994 issue (p. 8) of The Northern California Jewish Bulletin; the first paragraph of http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10269&page=108; and second paragraph of autobiography:http://www.nobel.se/economics/laureates/1994/harsanyi-autobio.html.
6. Jewish father, non-Jewish mother; see the second and third paragraphs of autobiography: http://www.nobel.se/economics/laureates/1994/selten-autobio.html.
7. Jewish father (eminent Columbia University sociologist Robert King Merton, who was born Meyer Robert Schkolnick), non-Jewish mother; see http://agso.uni-graz.at/lexikon/klassiker/merton/33bio.htm.
8. In an article written by Lesley Simpson, entitled "Endowment fund named for winner of Nobel Prize," in the September 16, 1998 on-line edition of The Hamilton Spectator, it was said that Scholes had been active in "Hillel, the Jewish students' association" at McMaster University. It was further stated that "Scholes was invited to return home and celebrate by both the city's Jewish community and McMaster University...The Jewish Federation of Hamilton-Wentworth, the governing body for the Jewish community, is using his visit to formally announce an endowment fund for Jewish education. The Myron Scholes Nobel Award has been created in his honor."
9. Jewish mother (née Hirschfelder), non-Jewish father; see the second paragraph of autobiography: http://www.nobel.se/economics/laureates/2001/akerlof-autobio.html.
10. See Encyclopaedia Judaica, Second Edition (Thomson Gale, Detroit, 2007,Vol. 19, p. 226).
11. See first paragraph of autobiography: http://nobelprize.org/economics/laureates/2002/kahneman-autobio.html. Kahneman's long-time Israeli collaborator, Amos Tversky, would undoubtedly have shared in the prize were it not for his untimely death in 1996.
12. See third paragraph of autobiography: http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economics/laureates/2005/aumann-autobio.html.
13. See Who's Who in World Jewry 1965: A Biographical Dictionary of Outstanding Jews, edited by Harry Schneiderman and I.J. Carmin Karpman (McKay, New York, 1965, p. 433).
14. See November 8, 2007 interview in the New Jersey Jewish News Online. See also http://www.momentmag.com/noble-books-2/.
15. See statement quoted near the end of this November 5, 2007 JUF News article. See also http://www.momentmag.com/noble-books-2/.
16. See, e.g., the third paragraph of http://www.pkarchive.org/personal/SmearMachine102403.html: "too bad for these people that I'm Jewish..."
17. Jewish father, non-Jewish mother; see 6 December 2009 Bloomington, IN Herald-Times article by Mike Leonard: "What a prize: Nobel winner Elinor Ostrom is a gregarious teacher who loves to solve problems" éand 6 December 2009 IndyStar.com article by Dan McFeely: "Ostrom overcame poverty, anti-Semitism." Leonard states that "she attended a Protestant church as a child, and often spent weekends staying with the sister of her Jewish father, who kept a kosher home. 'That was a wonderful experience for me, the Friday night discussions they had,' she recalled."
18. Guest speaker (4 October 2011) in the "Leading Jewish Minds @ MIT" series sponsored by the MIT Hillel Foundation, to which Diamond belonged as a graduate student.
19. See the entry for Alvin Roth in Marquis Who's Who in America, which gives his religion as "Jewish." Roth's co-winner, Lloyd Shapley, was recognized for work done in collaboration with the late mathematician David Gale, who was Jewish. Gale, who died in 2008, would almost certainly have shared in the prize had he lived.
20. Son of the prominent Anglo-Jewish medical researcher Philip Montagu D'Arcy Hart and Ruth Meyer, a refugee from Nazi Germany. See biographical entries for Philip Hart in The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History, edited by William D. Rubinstein, Michael A. Jolles, and Hilary L. Rubinstein (Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2011, p. 403) and in Who's Who in World Jewry: A Biographical Dictionary of Outstanding Jews (1965), edited by Harry Schneiderman and I. J. Carmin Karpman (David McKay, New York, 1965, p.398). Oliver Hart's wife, Rita Goldberg, is the daughter of Holocaust survivor Hilde Jacobsthal, who was a close friend in pre-war Amsterdam of Margot Frank, the older sister of Anne Frank. Otto Frank, the father of Anne and Margot, was Rita's godfather.
21. Son of Alan and Roslyn (née Melnikoff) Thaler. Roslyn Melnikoff was the daughter of Isadore and Ray (née Rebecca Klein) Melnikoff, Russian-Jewish immigrants to the US. Alan Thaler was the son of Maurice and Diana (née Oberlander) Thaler. Diana Thaler was the daughter of Alexander and Mary (née Snyder) Oberlander, Russian-Jewish immigrants to the US. Maurice Thaler was the son of Max and Celia Thaler, Austrian-Jewish immigrants to Canada. The graves of Max and Maurice Thaler are listed in the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR).
22. Paternal grandparents were Max and Bertha (née Staab) Nordhaus. Max Nordhaus was a Jewish immigrant from Germany. Bertha Nordhaus was the daughter of German-Jewish immigrants Abraham and Julia (née Schuster) Staab. The JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) lists both Max and Bertha Nordhaus as buried in the Congregation Albert Temple Cemetery in Albuquerque, NM. William Nordhaus' mother, née Virginia Riggs, was not Jewish.
23. Ragnar Frisch (1969) appears on a number of Jewish lists. This claim seems to have originated from an entry in the H.W. Wilson biographical dictionary of Nobel Prize Winners (H.W. Wilson Co., New York, NY, 1987) which states that Frisch "was imprisoned during the Nazi occupation of Norway as an outspoken opponent of Nazism and as a Jew." This claim, however, conflicts with Frisch's family history in Norway, which traces back many centuries (Jews were banned from settlement in Norway until 1851), and with the description of Frisch as "a devout Christian" in The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics, Volume 2, edited by John Eatwell, Murray Milgate, and Peter Newman (Stockton Press, New York, NY, 1987, p. 430).
Friedrich von Hayek (1974) is described as being Jewish in a number of sources, e.g., From Marx to Mises by David Ramsay Steele (Open Court, La Salle, IL, 1992, p. 401). This misidentification is due, in part, to his having been the cousin of Ludwig Wittgenstein (through, as it turns out, Wittgenstein's one non-Jewish grandparent), and his leadership with von Mises (who was Jewish) of the then heavily Jewish Austrian School of economics. In Hayek on Hayek (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL, 1994, pp. 61-62), however, Hayek states that none of his ancestors appear to have been Jewish.
Christopher Sims (2011) had a Jewish maternal grandfather: William Morris Leiserson. See Encyclopaedia Judaica, Vol. 10 (Keter, Jerusalem, 1972, pp.1593-1594).
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