Gerard Debreu


Gerard Debreu
(1921)


French-born American economist whose fundamental contribution to economic theory won him the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1983.
Debreu received his doctorate in economics from the University of Paris in 1946. In 1950 he joined the Chicago-based Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, moving with the foundation to Yale University in New Haven, Conn., in 1955. His classic monograph, Theory of Values: An Axiomatic Analysis of Economic Equilibrium, was published in 1959. In it Debreu provided the mathematical underpinnings for the phenomenon of equilibrium in supply and demand that was first articulated (as the "invisible hand" that leads self-seeking men unwittingly to aid society) by Adam Smith in 1776.

Debreu also developed methods by which to analyze the factors that influence equilibrium. He became professor of economics and mathematics at the University of California at Berkeley in 1962 and a U.S. citizen in 1975.


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