Economics & Finance

The Nobel Factor: The Prize in Economics, Social Democracy, and the Market Turn

How the creation of the Nobel Prize in Economics changed the economics profession, Sweden, and the world


Nov 19, 2019
6.13 x 9.25 in.
31 b/w illus. 1 table.
Economics & Finance
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Our confidence in markets comes from economics, and our confidence in economics is underpinned by the Nobel Prize in Economics, which was first awarded in 1969. Was it a coincidence that the prize and the rise of free-market liberalism began at the same time? The Nobel Factor is the first book to describe the origins and power of the most important prize in economics. It tells how the prize, created by the Swedish central bank, emerged from a conflict between central bank orthodoxy and Sweden’s social democracy. The aim was to use the halo of the Nobel brand to influence the future of Sweden and the rest of the developed world by enhancing the bank’s authority and the prestige of market-friendly economics. And the strategy has worked spectacularly—with sometimes disastrous results for societies striving to cope with the requirements of economic theory and deregulated markets. Drawing on previously untapped archives and providing a unique analysis of the sway of prizewinners, The Nobel Factor offers an unprecedented account of the real-world consequences of economics and its greatest prize.

Awards and Recognition

  • Selected for Bloomberg View’s “The Writing that Shaped Economic Thinking in 2016”
  • Selected for Canada’s Financial Post Best Personal Finance and Economics Books of 2016