Paul Romer and William Nordhaus win the economics Nobel


WHY do economies grow, and why might growth outstrip the natural world’s capacity to sustain it? There are few more important questions in economics. The answers require a working grasp of the mechanisms underlying growth. For the progress that the profession has made towards that understanding, it owes a particular debt to Paul Romer and William Nordhaus, this year’s winners of the Nobel prize in economic sciences.

Although both scholars have long been talked of as potential winners, they are not an obvious pairing for the prize. Mr Romer tends to be described as a growth theorist; Mr Nordhaus’s work is in the field of environmental economics. The Sveriges Riksbank, which awards the economics Nobel, found a common thread in their work incorporating two crucial processes—knowledge creation and climate change, respectively—into models of economic growth. But what most links their work is that they have improved the way the profession thinks about impossibly complex systems, while also revealing…

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