Posthumous Nobels

by Don Boudreaux on October 11, 2016

in Economics

My friend Reuvain Borchardt, a lawyer, asks if it’s possible for a Nobel Prize to be awarded posthumously.  My understanding (at least for the economics prize) is the following: a person loses his or her eligibility to win the prize come January 1st of the year following his or her death.  So, for example, someone who dies on September 30th, 2017 will be eligible to win the 2017 Prize, but not in any following years.

My understanding might be mistaken, but I once heard the above explanation from what my memory says was a credible source.  (Also, no Nobel in economics was ever so awarded posthumously, although William Vickrey died very soon after it was announced that he won it in 1996.  He died before the December ceremonies in Stockholm.)

Anyway, Reuvain’s question got me to thinking: What if unlimited posthumous economic Nobel awards were possible?  Who are the ten now-dead, non-laureate economists who I believe would be most deserving.  My idiosyncrasies will be evident in my list:

Adam Smith (of course, and not just because his is the single most famous name in all of economics)

David Ricardo

Carl Menger

Alfred Marshall

Ludwig von Mises

Frank Knight

Aaron Director

Armen Alchian

Gordon Tullock

Julian Simon

The hardest name to leave off of this list of ten is a tie between Joseph Schumpeter and Knut Wicksell; a name that was quite easy to leave off is John Maynard Keynes.

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