The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Stigler, George Joseph (1911–1991)

  • David M. Levy
  • Sandra J. Peart
Reference work entry


George Stigler combined technical competence, erudition, and wit. Stigler asked Frank Knight’s question of how we know the goals of those we study. Early on, he offered a Knightian challenge to welfare economics, defending classical economic policy against the new orthodoxy. Later, he became an exponent of the orthodoxy. If goals are fixed, information is useful as a means to achieving them. Characterizing information as a commodity, Stigler described competitive equilibrium as a distribution of prices in a market. Policy advice is endogenous and we return to Adam Smith’s analysis in which the philosopher is no better than those he studies.


Addiction American Economic Association Arrow, K. Auctions Becker, G. Chicago School Classical economics Coase theorem Coase, R. Collusion Cooperation Dantzig, G. Dismal science Equality Friedman, M. History of Economics Society Industrial organization Knight, F. H. Linear programming Malthus, T. R. Mandeville, B. Mill, J. S. Mont Pelerin Society Negative income tax New welfare economics Oligopoly Prisoner’s dilemma Regulation Regulatory capture Revealed preference Rosen, S. Samuelson, P. Science as consensus Science, economics of Shadow prices Simons, H. Smith, A. Stigler, G. Time preference Viner, J. Wallis, W. Welfare economics 

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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • David M. Levy
    • 1
  • Sandra J. Peart
    • 1
  1. 1.