Edmund S. Phelps

Banquet speech

Edmund S. Phelps’s speech at the Nobel Banquet in the Stockholm City Hall, D10 December 2006.

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Ladies and Gentlemen

When I was a teenager I learned to play the trumpet. Music became my passion. Then, when I was in college at Amherst, my father asked me a favor: to take one course in economics. I loved it – for the challenge of its mysteries. I became as passionate about economics as I was about music. The economist Paul Samuelson became an idol alongside the trumpet man Harry James.

That passion gave me the drive to pursue a couple of the biggest remaining problems in economics. I took risks – tried to hit home runs.

In my graduate study at Yale I got a good start. My teachers included non-Keynesians as well as Keynesians, Europeans as well as Americans – Fellner, Koopmans, Triffin, Wallich, Tobin and Schelling. I acquired the diverse background I would need to do my research.

I didn’t do my work for money or prizes – only for the excitement of discovery.

In my research, my best discovery was my wife Viviana! We have a beautiful life.

I’ve lived to see key parts of my research absorbed in textbooks and in central banks around the world. And some finance ministries too.

This award of the Prize in Economics in Memory of Alfred Nobel is an extremely public recognition by a most respected institution of some of my contributions. I am deeply grateful to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and to its Nominating Committee for this wonderful honor.

Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 2006

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