Arizona State University economics professor Edward Prescott received his Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences on Friday as about 100 students and faculty members watched on a bigscreen webcast in an ASU lecture hall.
Prescott was presented a medal and certificate by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and will share a $1.4 million cash prize with his colleague, Finn E. Kydland, a Norwegian professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Prescott and Kydland were cited for studies they did together in the late 1970s on boom and bust business cycles. They emphasized the importance of governments and central banks pursuing consistent long-term policies, advice that has been adopted by central banks around the world.
"Your insights not only opened up new fields of research, they also changed the outlook on economic policy and the practice of institutional design," said professor Torsten Persson of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Persson added that their work has moved from being considered "foolish to obvious."
The formal ceremony took place inside the concert hall in Stockholm, Sweden, and was followed by a banquet at the city hall.
Many of those watching the ceremony at ASU figured it was a once-in-a-lifetime happening.
"Who knows if it will happen again," said Philip Regier, deputy dean of the W.P. Carey School of Business. "It is a rare event to have a Nobel Prize winner. It’s something I’m glad to be a part of."
Arthur Blakemore, chairman of the Department of Economics, who played a key role in bringing Prescott to ASU, said Prescott was worthy of the honor.
"He epitomizes what the Nobel prizes are all about," Blakemore said. "He changed our view of macroeconomics. His contributions are enormous, and I’m proud that he decided to associate with us."
He added that Prescott’s work is continuing through his students. "Many of them have been very successful, too."
John Robinson, a doctoral student in finance who also witnessed the ceremony, said he hopes to participate in one of Prescott’s seminars.
"It’s great for the students because it will add to the prestige of the business school," he said. "It will help us get jobs after we graduate."
Craig MacDonnell, an ASU employee and student, also said the prize is a big boost for the school. "Now that he’s won a Nobel Prize, it should help us market our world-class faculty and researchers," MacDonnell said. "It should help us recruit more students."
Joel Satterlee, a doctoral history student, was interested in the ceremony because he specializes in Swedish history. "It’s a tremendous feather in the cap of the business school and the university as a whole," he said.
Prescott, 63, whose selection was announced on Oct. 11, is the first ASU faculty member to receive a Nobel Prize.
He joined the ASU faculty early this year as the W.P. Carey Chair in Economics in the W.P. Carey School of Business. He teaches a seminar for doctoral students in macroeconomics and also will teach an honors class for advanced business undergraduates next spring.
Before coming to ASU, Prescott was a faculty member at the University of Minnesota for about 20 years. He is continuing to serve as a senior monetary adviser to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
Other Nobel prizes presented Friday went to Americans Richard Axel and Linda B. Buck for medicine, Americans David J. Gross, H. David Politzer and Frank Wilczek for physics and Israelis Aaron Ciechanover and Avram Hershko and American Irwin Rose for chemistry.
Austrian writer Elfriede Jelinek, who won the literature prize, did not attend because she has a social phobia. Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai received her Nobel Peace Prize at a separate ceremony in Oslo, Norway.