The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 1974
Born: 6 December 1898, Skattungbyn, Sweden
Died: 17 May 1987, Stockholm, Sweden
Prize motivation: “for their pioneering work in the theory of money and economic fluctuations and for their penetrating analysis of the interdependence of economic, social and institutional phenomena”
Prize share: 1/2
Gunnar Myrdal was born in Skattungbyn, Sweden. He graduated with a law degree from Stockholm University in 1923 and a doctorate in economics in 1927. He became a professor at Stockholms Högskola in 1933. That same year, he became a Social Democratic Member of Parliament. From 1945-47 he served as Trade Minister. From 1947-57 Myrdal was executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. In 1919 he met Alva Reimer, whom he married in 1924.
Economic issues affect almost every area of society and economic science also interplays with other social sciences. Gunnar Myrdal conducted his first works within economic theory, but later developed broader social analyses. In An American Dilemma (1944), he analyzed the African American population's situation in the US by examining political, institutional, demographic, and education and health factors. Myrdal's research has been important in understanding developing countries.