Nobel Laureate Ken Arrow Talks 'Health and Wealth' of Nations


March 6, 2013

On Monday, March 4, Nobel Laureate Ken Arrow delivered the College of Computing’s Distinguished Lecture titled “Health and Wealth.” Addressing a standing-room-only crowd, Arrow discussed longevity and other aspects of health as commodities, as well as their trade-off with more usual goods as important measures of the well being of nations.

Arrow, who is a Joan Kenney Professor of Economics and Professor of Operations, Emeritus, at Stanford University, walked the audience through the relationship of health and the market.  He went on to present ways in which the value of health may be measured in terms normally associated with wealth. Arrow concluded his lecture by stating that accepting a public responsibility for health has permeated the public conscience, making the examination of health as wealth even more crucial for our society in the future.

In 1972, at the age of 51, Arrow was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics, making him the youngest recipient of this award, and is considered one of the world’s leading economists.  He received his bachelor's degree from the City College of New York (1940) and his M.S. (mathematics, 1941) and Ph.D. (economics, 1951) from Columbia University.

He has engaged in research on different areas of economic theory and policy and operations research, including social choice, incomplete information, general equilibrium, inventory and investment theory, dynamic optimization with special reference to the choice of discount rates, medical economics and the economic aspects of climate change. He has been president of several learned societies and received several honors, including the John von Neumann Prize in Operations Research Theory, the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science, and the National Medal of Science.

The event was one of the most largely attended Distinguished Lectures held by the College, with more than 340 people attending the lecture and 350 more tuning in via the webcast. This event marked the third GT Computing lecture by a Nobel Laureate in the past year and a half.

Click here to view the video of the lecture in its entirety. Photos from the event are available via the College's Flickr stream.