Stiglitz, Joseph Eugene, is a well-known American economist who was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on asymmetric information. In his hometown of Gary, Indiana, he received his early education through the public school system. He went on to Amherst College for his bachelor’s degree and MIT for his PhD. Following that, he collaborated with a number of well-known economists on both sides of the Atlantic and taught at MIT, Yale, Stanford, Oxford, and Princeton before joining Columbia University, where he is still a member of the faculty. He is most known for his work in microeconomics, but he has also made substantial contributions to policy issues. He was a member of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers for four years before becoming Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank. He was an adviser to Barack Obama more recently, but he was harshly critical of his administration’s financial-industry bailout plan. He is also a prolific writer, having published over 300 technical articles as well as a number of books on a variety of economic topics.
Childhood and Adolescence
Joseph Eugene Stiglitz was born in Gary, Indiana, on February 9, 1943. His father, Nathaniel David Stiglitz, was a Jeffersonian democrat and an insurance salesman, while his mother, Charlotte (née Fishman), was a schoolteacher and hailed from a family of New Deal democrats.
As a result, passionate political debate was a part of Joseph’s family life during his childhood. This may have sparked his interest in politics, which he pursued throughout his undergraduate years.
Joseph was greatly influenced by Nathaniel Stiglitz. He was a passionate supporter of civil rights and frequently lectured about the merits of self-reliance. He had a strong sense of moral obligation and insisted on paying social security contributions for domestic help, despite the fact that they had never requested it.
In Gary, Joseph Stiglitz received his education through the public school system. Despite the fact that his classes were relatively large, his professors were able to provide individual attention. Stiglitz had to master printing and electrical skills in addition to the standard subjects.
He was very active in classroom arguments during these days. Every year, a national theme was chosen, and they were assigned to one of the two sides at random. Participating in such arguments early in his life taught him that every topic has several sides.
After graduating from high school in 1960, he went to Amherst College with his brother. It provided a comprehensive education, and he studied a little bit of mathematics, history, economics, philosophy, biology, chemistry, and English there, in addition to physics, which he majored in three years later.
The teachers had a distinct teaching style as well. They posed questions and then followed up with further questions in response to each response. He soon discovered that if one could ask the proper question, finding the right response was not difficult.
Young Stiglitz was drawn to economics over all other courses offered at Amherst College. As a result, after majoring in physics in 1964, he switched to economics. When he told his teachers, they recommended that he go graduate school.
Following that, he received a partial scholarship to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an undergraduate student. He spent two years at MIT, soaking up as much as he could from the university’s great academic environment. Not only did he want to learn, but he also wanted to get degrees.
Scholar of Science
In 1965, Joseph Stiglitz traveled to the University of Chicago to work on a project with Hirofumi Uzawa, a Japanese economist best recognized for his neoclassical economics growth theory.
He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Cambridge for the academic year 1965-1966 later that year. He took it because he wanted to hear as many different points of view as possible.
As a result, he enrolled at Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam College and began working on a variety of projects, first under Joan Robinson and subsequently under Frank Hahn. During this time, his study focused on growth, technological development, and income distribution.
Joseph Stiglitz returned to the United States in 1966 and accepted a one-year position as an Assistant Professor at MIT. At the same time, he began studying on his Ph.D. with Robert Merton Solow, and he received his degree in 1967.
He then became an Assistant Professor at Yale University’s Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics in 1967. He was appointed to Associate Professor in 1968, a position he retained until 1970.
Meanwhile, he was awarded a Tapp Junior Research Fellowship at the University of Cambridge’s Gonville and Caius College in 1966. As a result, he had to commute to and from Cambridge on a regular basis from then until 1970.
Stiglitz was promoted once again in 1970. He went on to become Professor of Economics at the Cowles Foundation and Yale University’s Department of Economics, a position he maintained until 1974.
He was also a Senior Research Fellow, Social Science Division, Institute for Development Studies, University College, Nairobi, from 1969 to 1971, thanks to a Rockefeller Foundation grant. He was a Visiting Fellow at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, from 1973 to 1974.
He became a Professor of Economics at Stanford University in 1974, and stayed there until 1976. After that, he was the Drummond Professor of Political Economy at Oxford University from 1976 until 1979.
He was a Professor of Economics at Princeton University from 1979 to 1988. He later worked at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution as a Professor of Economics and Senior Fellow from 1988 until 2001.
Stiglitz was named Professor of Economics at Columbia University’s Business School, Department of Economics, and School of International and Public Affairs in 2001, a position he still holds. He also serves as the Chairperson of a number of significant committees.
He is a member of Columbia University’s Committee on Global Thought and the Initiative for Policy Dialogue’s Co-Founder and Co-President. He is also the Chair of the Management Board and Director of Graduate Summer Programs at the University of Manchester’s Brooks World Poverty Institute.
In the political sphere
President Bill Clinton named Joseph Stiglitz a member of the Council of Economic Advisers in 1993. He was then entered as a Member of Cabinet in 1995 and appointed Chairman of the CEA, a position he held until 1997. He then served as the World Bank’s Senior Vice President and Chief Economist from 1997 to 2000. He had a disagreement with other economists around this time on the International Monetary Fund’s economic policies for third-world countries, which called for more taxes and tighter monetary control during the crisis.
He founded the ‘Initiative for Policy Dialogue’ (IPD) in July 2000, a global network of over 250 top economists, political scientists, civil society members, and practitioners. Its mission was to assist countries in resolving urgent issues and strengthening their civic society.
Stiglitz was appointed Chairman of the International Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress in 2008, following the initiative of France’s president. It held its first plenary meeting in April 2008, and on September 14, 2009, it released its final report.
He was appointed Chairman of the Commission of Experts on International Monetary and Financial System Reforms by the President of the United Nations General Assembly in 2009. After that, in 2010, he was hired as a government advisor to Greece.
Professor Stiglitz has been a member of the Scottish Government’s Fiscal Commission Working Group since March 2012. He then became a member of the British Labour Party’s Economic Advisory Committee in September 2015.
Major Projects of Joseph E. Stiglitz
Stiglitz’s work on information asymmetry and screening is well-known. He demonstrated how the adoption of a screening procedure allowed insurance companies to offer policy contracts that provided higher returns at lower premiums while working in the field of insurance. Later, he demonstrated how such data may be used to better understand market phenomena such as unemployment and credit restriction.
‘The Roaring Nineties: A New History of the World’s Most Prosperous Decade’ (2003), ‘The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict’ (2008), ‘The Price of Inequality’ (2012), and ‘Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy: An Agenda for Growth and Shared Prosperity’ (2013) are among his notable works (2015).
Achievements & Awards
The American Economic Association awarded him the John Bates Clark Award in 1979.
In 2001, Joseph E. Stiglitz, George A. Akerlof, and A. Michael Spence were awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel for “their analysis of markets with asymmetric knowledge.”
He was made a Foreign Member of the Royal Society in 2009. (ForMemRS). He is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Econometric Society, among other organizations.
In 2010, he was honored with the renowned Loeb Prize for achievements to journalism.
The French government awarded him the Legion of Honor at the rank of Officer in February 2012.
He has also been awarded more than 40 honorary doctorates, at least eight honorary professorships, and an honorary deanship.
Personal History and Legacy
Stiglitz, Joseph E., married three times. Nothing is known about his first wife or marriage, other than the fact that he has two children from it, Siobhan and Michael Stiglitz, and that it ended in divorce.
He married Dr. Jane Hannaway, who was an assistant professor of administration at Teachers College at the time, on December 23, 1978. Edward (Jed) and Julia Stiglitz were their children. This union also ended in divorce.
Stiglitz married Anya Schiffrin, the director of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs’ Technology, Media, and Communications concentration and a lecturer at the School of International and Public Affairs, on October 28, 2004.