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Nobel Prize winner Robert Mundell is one of the foremost experts in the field of international economics. The co-founder of supply side economics and the father of the theory of optimum currency areas, Dr. Mundell’s contributions to monetary policy have shaped history.
Dr. Mundell is a professor and pillar of the economic department at Columbia University, and has also taught at the University of Chicago and the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. Dr. Mundell has dedicated his life to deepening people’s understanding of the practical consequences of different forms of monetary policy, based on his unrivaled knowledge of global economic activity throughout the past century.
Dr. Mundell’s 1961 pioneering work “A Theory of Optimum Currency Areas” laid out the blueprint for regional currency unions, and is credited by many as the inspiration and roadmap for the creation and adoption of the Euro. Dr. Mundell has been an advisor to the United Nations, the IMF, the World Bank, the European Commission, the Federal Reserve Board, the US Treasury, and the Government of Canada.
Nobel Laureate Economics, Father of the Theory of Optimum Currency Areas
Since 1974, Robert Mundell (born 1932) has been Professor of Economics at Columbia University in New York. After studying at M.I.T. and the London School of Economics, he received his Ph.D. from M.I.T. in 1956, and was the Post-Doctoral Fellow in Political Economy at the University of Chicago in 1956-57. He taught at Stanford University and The Johns Hopkins Bologna Center of Advanced International Studies before joining the staff of the International Monetary Fund in 1961.
From 1966 to 1971 he was a Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago and Editor of the journal of Political Economy; and from 1965 to 1975, he was (summer) Professor of International Economics at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. For 1997-98 he was the AGIP Professor of Economics at the Johns Hopkins Bologna Center of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.
Professor Mundell has been an adviser to a number of international agencies and organizations including the United Nations, the IMF, the World Bank, the European Commission, and several governments in Latin America and Europe, the Federal Reserve Board, the US Treasury and the Government of Canada.
In 1970, he was a consultant to the Monetary Committee of the European Economic Commission, and in 1972-73 a member of its Study Group on Economic and Monetary Union in Europe. He was a member of the Bellagio-Princeton Study Group on International Monetary Reform from 1964 to 1978, and Chairman of the Santa Colomba Conferences on International Monetary Reform between 1971 and 1987.
The author of numerous works and articles on economic theory of international economics, he prepared one of the first plans for a common currency in Europe and is known as the father of the theory of optimum currency areas.
He formulated what became a standard international macroeconomics model, was a pioneer of the theory of the monetary and fiscal policy mix, the theory of inflation and interest, the monetary approach to the balance of payments, and the co-founder of supply-side economics. He has also written extensively on the history of the international monetary system and played a significant role in the founding of the euro. He has also written extensively on the “transition” economies and in 1997 co-founded the Zagreb Journal of Economics.
Mundell’s writings include over a hundred articles in the scientific journals and the following books: The International Monetary System: Conflict and Reform, Man and Economics, International Economics, Monetary Theory: Interest, Inflation and Growth in the World Economy, The New International Monetary System (ed. with J. J. Polak) (1977); Monetary Agenda for the World Economy (ed. with Jack Kemp) (1983); and co-edited books Global Disequilibrium (1990); Debts, Deficits and Economic Performance (1991); and Building the New Europe (ed. with M. Baldassarri) (1992); Inflation and Growth in China (ed. with M. Guitian) (1996); and The Euro as a Stabilizer in the International Monetary System (ed. with A. Clesse) (2000).
Professor Mundell presented the Frank Graham Memorial Lecture at Princeton University in 1965, the Marshall Lectures at Cambridge University in 1974, and the Ohlin Lectures in 1998. He was the first Rockefeller Research Professor of International Economics at the Brookings Institution in 1964-65, the Ford Foundation Research Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago in 1965-66, the Annenberg Professor of Communications at the University of Southern California in 1980, the Repap Professor of Economics at McGill University in 1989-90, the Richard Fox Professor of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania in 1990-91, and the Agip Professor of Economics at the Bologna Center in 1997-98.
He received a Guggenheim Prize in 1971, the Jacques Rueff Medal and Prize in 1983, the Docteur Honoris Causa from the University of Paris in 1992, an Honorary Professorship at Renmin University in China in 1995, the Distinguished Fellow Award from the American Economic Association in 1997, was made a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in October 1998.
In 1999, he received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.
Nobel Prize winner in economics, Dr. Robert Mundell surveys a modern history of monetary policy explaining how we got to the system and challenges we have today and offering insights on how we might move forward. From adapting and leaving the gold standard to the use of flexible exchange rates, he highlights the consequences and lessons we’ve seen and learned from each system.
He notes that in general, monetary systems obey similar laws to solar systems; namely, smaller objects in the solar system revolve around the largest object. In the case of leaving the gold as a currency anchor, which he compares to the sun, he says, “If one of the planets becomes bigger and bigger than the sun, eventually the planets and the sun itself will rotate around that planet…That’s more or less what happened with the United States.”
One of the world’s greatest minds in economics, Dr. Robert Mundell’s breadth of knowledge on international monetary policy and global economic dynamics is second to none. Dr. Mundell fits today’s challenges into context, analyzing the decisions and events that got us where we are and drawing from the past to show what effects we might expect from putting different policy measures into play. He is frequently sought out for his insights on what actions governments should take to stabilize global and local economies and approaches they might take to redraw international exchange rates.
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