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Paul Romer ’73 awarded Nobel Prize in economics

November 8, 2018
Paul Romer

Paul Romer ’73, an economist at New York University who has long championed the idea that intentional policymaking is essential to technological innovation, is the winner of the 2018 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

Romer, 62, shares this year’s prize — the 50th bestowed by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences — with William Nordhaus, 77, a graduate of Andover and a longtime professor of economics at Yale University who was recognized for integrating climate change into long-run macroeconomic analysis.

The Royal Academy cited Romer’s “endogenous growth theory,” developed in 1990, as the backbone of his work. The theory explains the importance of investing in people and ideas to foster technological growth, when economists had previously believed that it was impossible to influence through policy the rate of innovation in technology.

Romer is a former senior vice president of the World Bank who received his bachelor’s and master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Chicago and also did graduate study at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Queen’s University in Ontario.

Romer’s argument for the need to invest in technological advancement received a real-life plug on the morning of the Nobel announcement. His blog crashed from overdemand.

“FYI, the little cloud server that is running my blog is having trouble keeping up with the load,” Romer tweeted. “If you get a 404, you might want to try again in a few minutes.”

Editor's note: This article first appeared in the fall 2018 issue of The Exeter Bulletin.