William D. Nordhaus PhD ’67, a scholar known for his work on the long-term interaction of climate change and the economy, will share the 2018 Nobel Prize in economic sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced today.
Nordhaus, a professor of economics at Yale University, shares the award with Paul M. Romer of New York University's Stern School of Business, who also did graduate work at MIT. The academy announced that the two economists have “significantly broadened the scope of economic analysis by constructing models that explain how the market economy interacts with nature and knowledge.”
In Nordhaus’ case, the academy cited his pioneering development of an “integrated assessment model” representing “the global interplay between the economy and the climate.” Nordhaus has refined multiple iterations of his model. He has also written about climate and economics for a broad audience, as the author of several books.
Nordhaus completed his PhD dissertation at MIT under the supervision of Robert M. Solow, himself the 1987 winner of the Nobel Prize in economic sciences. Multiple Nobel Prize winners in economics, including Nordhaus, Peter Diamond, George Akerlof, and Joseph Stiglitz, have had Solow as their principal advisor in MIT’s graduate program. Additionally, MIT biology professor H. Robert Horvitz ’68, a Nobel laureate in 2002 in the category of Physiology or Medicine, wrote his undergraduate thesis in economics under the direction of Solow.
Nordhaus is the 37th MIT alumnus to win a Nobel Prize and 90th winner with a connection to MIT. Five people have won the Nobel Prize in economic sciences while serving as members of the MIT faculty; another 11 MIT alumni, including Nordhaus, have won the prize. An additional seven former MIT faculty have won the Nobel Prize in economic sciences.