Recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics and former Chief Economist of The World Bank, Joseph Stiglitz is a pioneer in the field of the application of economic theories, having helped create the new branch of economics 'The Economics of Information'.
In 2000, he founded the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, a think tank on international development based at Columbia University. He has been a member of the Columbia faculty since 2001 and received that university's highest academic rank (university professor) in 2003.
In 2011, Joseph Stiglitz was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Known for his pioneering work on asymmetric information, Stiglitz's work focuses on income distribution, risk, corporate governance, public policy, macroeconomics and globalisation.
Born in Indiana, USA in 1943, Joseph is the son of an insurance salesman and a schoolteacher. During his growing up years, intense political debate was part of family life, which might have given rise to his interest in politics and was further nurtured during his college days.
A graduate of Amherst College he received his PHD from MIT in 1967, becoming a full professor at Yale in 1970, and in 1979 was awarded the John Bates Clark Award, given biennially by the American Economic Association to the economist under 40 who has made the most significant contribution to the field.
He has taught at Princeton, Stanford, MIT and was the Drummond Professor and a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. He is now University Professor at Columbia University in New York.
Professor Joseph Stiglitz was a member of the Council of Economic Advisers from 1993-95, during the Clinton administration, and served as CEA chairman from 1995-97. He then became Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President of the World Bank from 1997-2000.
In 2001, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics for his analyses of markets with asymmetric information, and he was a lead author of the 1995 Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
In 2008 he was asked by the French President Nicolas Sarkozy to chair the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, which released its final report in September 2009 (published as Mismeasuring Our Lives). He now chairs a High Level Expert Group at the OECD attempting to advance further these ideas.
In 2009 he was appointed by the President of the United Nations General Assembly as chair of the Commission of Experts on Reform of the International Financial and Monetary System, which also released its report in September 2009 (published as The Stiglitz Report). Since the crisis, he has played an important role in the creation of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET), which seeks to reform the discipline so it is better equipped to find solutions for the great challenges of the 21st century.
Stiglitz helped create a new branch of economics, "The Economics of Information'', exploring the consequences of information asymmetries and pioneering such pivotal concepts as adverse selection and moral hazard, which have now become standard tools not only of theorists, but of policy analysts.
He has made major contributions to macroeconomics and monetary theory, to development economics and trade theory, to public and corporate finance, to the theories of industrial organisation and rural organisation, and to the theories of welfare economics and of income and wealth distribution. In the 1980s, he helped revive interest in the economics of R&D.
His work has helped explain the circumstances in which markets do not work well, and how selective government intervention can improve their performance.
Recognised around the world as a leading economic educator, Stiglitz has written textbooks that have been translated into more than a dozen languages. His book Globalisation and Its Discontents (W.W. Norton, 2001) was translated into 35 languages and sold more than one million copies worldwide.
His other books include The Roaring Nineties (W.W. Norton, 2003); Towards a New Paradigm in Monetary Economics, with Bruce Greenwald (Cambridge University Press, 2003); Fair Trade for All, with Andrew Charlton (Oxford University Press, 2005); Making Globalisation Work (W.W. Norton and Penguin/Allen Lane, 2006); The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict, with Linda Bilmes of Harvard University (W.W. Norton and Penguin/ Allen Lane, 2008); and Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy (W.W. Norton and Penguin/Allen Lane, 2010).
Professor Joseph Stiglitz has received more than 40 honorary degrees, including from Cambridge and Harvard, and he has been decorated by several governments including Bolivia, Korea, Colombia, Ecuador, and most recently France, where he was made the Officer of the Legion of Honor.