DEFINITION of Edmund S. Phelps

Edmund S. Phelps is an American professor of political economy and Director of the Center on Capitalism and Society at Columbia University and winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Economics for macroeconomic research. Born in 1933 in Evanston, Illinois, Phelps earned a Ph.D. from Yale and B.A. from Amherst College. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in his field for his "analysis on intertemporal trade-offs in macroeconomic policy," in the words of the Nobel Committee, and the link between employment, wage setting and inflation. Before accepting a tenured position at Columbia, he taught at Yale and the University of Pennsylvania.

BREAKING DOWN Edmund S. Phelps

Dr. Phelps' macroeconomic research focuses on unemployment and inclusion, economic growth, business swings and economic dynamism. One of Phelps major contributions to economics was the insight he provided on the interaction between inflation and unemployment. In particular, Phelps described how current inflation is reliant on expectations about future inflation as well as unemployment.

The Nobel Laureate did the bulk of his groundbreaking work in the late 1960s through the late 1970s, with his research appearing in "Money-Wage Dynamics and Labor Market Equilibrium" (Journal of Political Economy, 1968), Microeconomic Foundations of Employment and Inflation Theory (1970), Inflation Policy and Unemployment Theory (1972), and "Stabilizing Powers of Monetary Policy under Rational Expectations" (Journal of Political Economy, 1977). As with all Nobel Prize winners in Economics, Dr. Phelps was intellectually shaped by many mentors and collaborators over his long career. Some of the greats that he mentions in the biographical section of the official Nobel Prize website are Paul Samuelson, James Tobin, Thomas Schelling and Edward Prescott, all of whom are also Nobel Prize winners in Economics.

Not one to sit still, Dr. Phelps is still active in making contributions to the body of macroeconomic research. As recently as 2013 he published Mass Flourishing, a book about how grassroots-based innovation in societies lead to economic prosperity for nations.