Christopher Pissarides

Nobel Prize awarded alumni

Nine former members of staff or students at the Department have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics. 

Professor George Akerlof


Professor George Akerlof was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001 jointly with Michael Spence and Joseph Stiglitz, “for their analyses of markets with asymmetric information”.

He was Cassell Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics from 1978-1980, and is perhaps best known for his 1970 article, “The Market for Lemons: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism”, in which he identified certain severe problems that afflict markets characterized by asymmetric information, the paper for which he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize.

Professor Ronald Coase


Ronald Coase (1910-2013) was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1991 “for his discovery and clarification of the significance of transaction costs and property rights for the institutional structure and functioning of the economy”.

A graduate of the LSE’s BComm programme in 1932, he taught economics at LSE until his departure for the USA in 1951.

Hs brief but highly influential essay, “The Nature of the Firm” (1937), which was written during his time at LSE, launched his career as one of the most distinguished economists of the 20th century.

Professor Oliver Hart

Olive rHart

Oliver Hart was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2016, jointly with Bengt Homstrom, for his “fundamental contributions to a new branch of contract theory that deals with the important case of incomplete contracts, which have shed new light on the ownership and control of businesses and have had a vast impact on several fields of economics, as well as political science and law.”

He joined LSE as Professor of Economics in1981, and stayed until 1985. He was a BP visiting Centennial Professor between 1992-1993 and has been a Centennial Visiting Professor at LSE since 1997.

Professor Friedrich von Hayek


Friedrich von Hayek (1899-1992) was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1974, jointly with Gunnar Myrdal, for their “pioneering work in the theory of money and economic fluctuations and ... penetrating analysis of the interdependence of economic, social and institutional phenomena”.

He spent the vast majority of his academic life at the LSE, and was Tooke Professor of Economic Science and Statistics from 1932-1950. A major political thinker of the twentieth century, his account of how changing prices communicate information which enables individuals to coordinate their plans is widely regarded as an important achievement in economics.

Professor Sir John Hicks


Sir John Hicks (1904-1989) was awarded the 1972 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences jointly with Kenneth Arrow in “for their pioneering contributions to general economic equilibrium theory and welfare theory”.

He was a lecturer in the Department of Economics from 1927-1935, working alongside Hayek and Kaldor. Although his time in the Economics Department was relatively short, he believed that it was vital to his intellectual development. He gave the proceeds of his Nobel prize to the LSE Library appeal.

Professor Sir William Arthur Lewis


Sir William Arthur Lewis (1915-1991) was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics Sciences in 1979 jointly with Theodore W. Schultz “for their pioneering research into economic development research with particular consideration of the problems of developing countries”.

A student and young lecturer at LSE, he came to LSE in 1932, gaining a first class BComm in 1937, and a PhD in Economics in 1940. In 1938 he was appointed assistant lecturer in economics, and remained at the LSE until 1948.

Professor James Meade


James Meade (1907-1995) was awarded the Nobel memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1977 jointly with the Swedish economist Bertil Ohlin for their “pathbreaking contribution to the theory of international trade and international capital movements”.

James Meade taught economics at LSE from 1947-1957, having previously worked with one of its great figures, Lionel Robbins, on wartime economy. Despite spending many years in Cambridge, he is very much an LSE figure, and deposited his papers in the LSE Library.

Professor Sir Christopher Pissarides


Sir Christopher Pissarides was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2010 jointly with Peter Diamond and Dale Mortenson “for their analysis of markets with search frictions”.

He has been a member of Department of Economics at LSE since 1975, and is currently the Regius Professor of Economics.

The Mortensen-Pissarides model that resulted from their 1994 paper, “Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment” has been exceptionally influential in modern macroeconomics. In one or another of its extensions or variations, today it is part of the core of most graduate economics curricula throughout the world.

Professor Amartya Sen


Professor Amartya Sen was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 1998 “for his contributions to welfare economics”.

He was a Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics at LSE from 1971-77, and continued to teach at the School on a part-time basis from 1978-82.

His contributions to welfare economics are profound and range from social choice theory, poverty and welfare indexes, distribution, the study of famine, individual welfare, and collective decision taking. His work is regarded as having restored an ethical dimension to economics.