Kenneth J. Arrow

TIMS President, 1963

Kenneth J. Arrow

Kenneth J. Arrow is recognized as one of the twentieth century's leading economists and decision analysts. He shared the 1972 Nobel Prize for Economics with Sir John R. Hicks for the development of theories underlying the assessment of business risk and government economic and welfare policies. Dr. Arrow’s interests in OR date back to the 1950s. At Stanford, he played a major role in creating the Department of Operations Research. He served as the tenth president of The Institute of Management Sciences in 1963. In 1986, he was awarded the John von Neumann Prize by ORSA and TIMS.

Dr. Arrow grew up in and around New York City. After graduating from the City College of New York, he continued his studies at Columbia University, first in mathematics and then in economics, though his primary interest at that time was mathematical statistics. He served as a weather officer during World War II and, after the war, returned to graduate study and research in mathematical economics at the Cowles Commission for Research in Economics at the University of Chicago. He also consulted at the RAND Corporation, where he first formulated the theory of social choice and proved his celebrated "Impossibility Theorem" of group decision making. This material was the basis of his doctoral dissertation, and the subsequently published book, Social Choice and Individual Values.

At RAND, he also was the co-developer of the central concepts of dynamic inventory theory with Jacob Marschak and Theodore E. Harris, resulting in the 1951 paper in Econometrica. In 1958, he published the classic study entitled Studies in the Mathematical Theory of Inventory and Production with Samuel Karlin and Herbert Scarf. In addition, Professor Arrow was among the first researchers to note the existence of the learning curve.

Professor Arrow was a member of the faculty at the University of Chicago (1948-9), Stanford University (1949-1968, 1979-1991), and Harvard University (1968-1979). He authored over 200 papers and 12 books. His many honors include the John Bates Clark Medal of the American Economic Association, 1957; President of the Econometric Society and American Economic Association; elected membership in the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society; and honorary degrees from the University of Chicago, City University of New York, and University of Vienna.

BS, 1940, CCNY; MA, 1940, Columbia; PhD, Chicago,1951; Nobel Prize in Economics, 1972

Kenneth J. Arrow's Awards