Robert Lucas is a key figure in the development of the theory of rational expectations. His work has had a profound effect on macroeconomics, demonstrating that because people make rational decisions about their economic welfare, their actions can alter the expected results of government economic policies.
In 1995, he received the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for developing and applying the theory. His work has led to “emergence of an equilibrium theory of business cycles, insights into the difficulties of using economic policy to control the economy, and possibilities of reliably evaluating economic policy with statistical methods,” the Royal Swedish Academy noted.
Among his books are Studies in Business-Cycle Theory; Rational Expectations and Econometric Practice, which he coedited with Thomas Sargent; Models of Business Cycles; and Recursive Methods in Economic Dynamics, which he published in 1989 with Edward Prescott and Nancy Stokey, the Frederick Henry Prince Distinguished Service Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago. His Lectures on Economic Growth was published in 2002.
Lucas was a member of the faculty of the Graduate School of Industrial Administration at Carnegie-Mellon University from 1963 until 1974, when he joined the faculty at the University of Chicago, his alma mater.
He is a fellow of the Econometric Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He is a past president of the Econometric Society and the American Economic Association.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in history in 1959 and his PhD in economics in 1964, both from the University of Chicago.