Joseph E. Stiglitz was born in Gary, Indiana in 1943. A graduate of Amherst College, he received his PHD from MIT in 1967, became a full professor at Yale in 1970, and in 1979 was awarded the John Bates Clark Award, given biennially by the American Economic Association to the economist under 40 who has made the most significant contribution to the field. He has taught at Princeton, Stanford, MIT and was the Drummond Professor and a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. Stiglitz served on President Clinton’s economic team as a member and then chairman of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisors in the mid-1990s and then joined the World Bank as chief economist and senior vice president.
In 2001, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics for his analyses of markets with asymmetric information, and he was a lead author of the 1995 Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
He is now University Professor at Columbia University in New York and Co-Chair of Columbia University’s Committee on Global Thought. He is also the co-founder and Co-President of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue at Columbia. In 2011, Time named him one of the world’s 100 most influential people. In 2012, he was awarded the French Legion of Honor, with the rank of Officier.
Stiglitz helped create a new branch of economics, “The Economics of Information,” exploring the consequences of information asymmetries and pioneering such pivotal concepts as adverse selection and moral hazard, which have now become standard tools not only of theorists, but of policy analysts. He has made major contributions to macroeconomics and monetary theory, to development economics and trade theory, to public and corporate finance, to the theories of industrial organization and rural organization, and to the theories of welfare economics and of income and wealth distribution. In the 1980s, he helped revive interest in the economics of R&D.
His work has helped explain the circumstances in which markets do not work well, and how selective government intervention can improve their performance.