One of the most influential macroeconomists of the Chicago School of economics, Robert E. Lucas Jr was born in 1937 in Yakima, Washington, and was the eldest child of Robert Emerson Lucas and Jane Templeton Lucas. Lucas received his B.A in History in 1959 from the University of Chicago. While he was attending the University of California, Berkeley as a graduate student in 1959, Lucas left Berkeley due to financial reasons and returned to Chicago in 1960, earning a Ph.D in Economics in 1964. After teaching a Carnegie-Mellon University, he returned to Chicago University as a Professor in 1974.

He overturned Keynesian ideas, and his research into rational expectations (the idea that because people make well-informed, rational decisions, their actions can alter the intended course of government policy) influenced monetary policy during the 1980s. He also made important contributions to the theory of endogenous economic growth. He received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1995 “for having developed and applied the hypothesis of rational expectations, and thereby having transformed macroeconomic analysis and deepened our understanding of economic policy.” He has been characterized by N. Gregory Mankiw as “the most influential macroeconomist of the last quarter of the 20th century.”

Key Works: 1972, Expectations and the Neutrality of Money, 1976, Econometric Policy Evaluation: a Critique, 1981 Studies in Business Cycle Theory, 1988 On the Mechanics of Economic Development, 1990 Why Does Capital not Flow from Rich to Poor Countries

Link to the History of Economic Thought Website 

Link to Nobel Autobiography

Link to 1995 Nobel Award Press Release