The jury of the Urrutia Elejalde Foundation Diversity Prize, composed of Juan Urrutia(Chair), Claude d’Asprémont, Alan Kirman , Salvador Barberà and Aurelia Modrego acting as Secretary, has unanimously agreed to declare Ariel Rubinstein as the winner of the prize’s third edition, for the year 2012.
Ariel Rubinstein is widely recognized as one of the leading economists by the profession. More than one hundred publications in economic theory, game theory, social choice, decision theory, behavioural andexperimental economics (and a highly original pioneering work in economics and language) are sufficient arguments for this decision.
But the jury would like to stress, as an example of the very existence of this FUE Diversity Prize, the deeper reasons underlying his quite original way of approaching economics, a way that might be at the origin of his diversity and that can be traced to his candid examination of the puzzles he confronts.
In his own words from his presidential address in Madrid 2004 published two years later the jury want to single out three of his characteristics:
First his identitarian astonishment: What on earth am I doing? What are we trying to accomplish as economic theorists? We get to call ourselves economists and the public naively thinks that we are improving the economy’s performance….Of course, we can justify this image by repeating some of the same fancy sounding slogans we use in our grant proposals, but do we ourselves believe in those slogans?
Second his aloofness over his own profession: Frankly, I respect philosophers, teachers, writers, and nurses more than I do economists.
I do not care about stock markets prices and I’m not sure what “equities” are. I am reluctant to give policy advice to the
government, and I am not happy with the idea that I maybe acting in the interest of fanatic profit maximizers.
Third his concerns as a citizen: However, economic theory has real effects. I cannot ignore the fact that our work as teachers and researchers influences students’ minds and does so in a way with which I am not comfortable. Can we find a way to be relevant without being charlatans?
These remarks give the prize a heavy new weight since after reading them carefully one understands that critical views on theory and diversity of writing cannot be separated. The revision of foundations is the cause and the deep probe of many diverse topics and branches of research is a direct consequence of this revision.
I now would like to add something personal. Ariel has been in the FUE summer school in San Sebastian several times talking about bounded rationality and politics and welfare besides searching for cafes to sit in and think and taking snapashots of burning buses. Next year we hope he will organize a session of this ASSET meeting in Bilbao, also in the basque country. I do not know whether he will find cafes inspiring there but I really think he will not be able to spot a single burning bus.