Stigler, George Joseph (19111991)

David M. Levy and Sandra J. Peart
From The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, Second Edition, 2008
Edited by Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume
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George Stigler combined technical competence, erudition, and wit. Stigler asked Frank Knight's question of how we know the goals of those we study. Early on, he offered a Knightian challenge to welfare economics, defending classical economic policy against the new orthodoxy. Later, he became an exponent of the orthodoxy. If goals are fixed, information is useful as a means to achieving them. Characterizing information as a commodity, Stigler described competitive equilibrium as a distribution of prices in a market. Policy advice is endogenous and we return to Adam Smith's analysis in which the philosopher is no better than those he studies.
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How to cite this article

Levy, David M. and Sandra J. Peart. "Stigler, George Joseph (1911–1991)." The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. Second Edition. Eds. Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume. Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics Online. Palgrave Macmillan. 17 January 2018 <> doi:10.1057/9780230226203.1619

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