Robert Solow is one of the most decorated economists of all time after receiving the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, the John Bates Clark Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It seems his success rubs off on others too, three of his former PhD students have received their own Nobel Prizes (George Akerlof, Joseph Stiglitz and Peter Diamond).
Solow’s most famous work is his model of economic growth, the Solow model. His model asserted that there are three determinants of economic growth: increases in labour, increases in capital and exogenous technological change. Solow’s model concluded that growth would eventually reach a stable equilibrium; this was in stark contrast to the Harrod-Domar model, the main competing growth model at the time. The Solow model has been a mainstay in macroeconomics classes ever since its inauguration, but it is routinely criticised for positing that the main determinant of long-run economic growth is exogenous.
Solow worked alongside Paul Samuelson for 4 decades, researching a multitude of economic theories including the Phillips curve, von Neumann growth theory and linear programming. In addition, Solow also served as a senior economist for the Council of Economic Advisors from 1961-1962 and was a member of the President’s Commission on Income Maintenance between 1968-1970.
“Everything reminds Milton of the money supply. Well, everything reminds me of sex, but I keep it out of the paper.”
“If God had meant there to be more than two factors of production, He would have made it easier for us to draw three-dimension al diagrams.”
“Why does a public discussion of economic policy so often show the abysmal ignorance of the participants?”
– Robert Solow