Hoover economist Thomas Sargent wins Nobel Prize

Oct. 11, 2011, 2:20 a.m.

Hoover Senior Fellow Thomas Sargent was named the recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences by the Nobel committee early Monday morning. Sargent, known for his work in the field of macroeconomics and the rational expectations revolution, shared the prize with fellow American Christopher Sims of Princeton University.

The two economists, both 68, conducted their influential research independently but will split the $1.48 million cash award.

Sargent received the award for his research on the cause-and-effect relationship between the economy and policy instruments. His research focused on the rational expectations hypothesis, which assumes individuals base their expectations of economic variables on continuously updated and reinterpreted information. The hypothesis significantly altered the field of macroeconomics in the 1970s, causing researchers and policy makers since to reconsider policy instruments and statistics such as interest rates, inflation and unemployment.

Sargent received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1964 and his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1968.

Sargent, an expert in monetary economics, time series economics and macroeconomics, is a professor emeritus in Stanford’s economics department and an economics professor at New York University.

Sargent became a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution in 1987. From 1975 to 1987, he was a professor at the University of Minnesota. In the early 1990s, Sargent taught at the University of Chicago.

Former president of the Econometric Society, the American Economic Association and the Society for Economic Dynamics, Sargent won the Nemmers Prize in Economics in 1997.

He also served in the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant and captain and has co-authored five books, including Robustness, published in 2007.

This announcement is the final Nobel Prize to be announced this year. Sims and Sargent will receive the prize alongside this years’ other recipients Dec. 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel’s death.

– Margaret Rawson

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