He did critical work in topics such as fat tails and fractals and his stock as a thinker rose considerably after the financial crisis. Losing Allais, McKenzie, and Mandelbrot in one week is a significant decline in the number of fundamental thinkers.
Who this guy was, and why it’s important
Maurice Félix Charles Allais (31 May 1911 – 9 October 2010) was a French economist, and was the 1988 winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics “for his pioneering contributions to the theory of markets and efficient utilization of resources.”
Pioneering Economist Lionel McKenzie, 91
University of Rochester economist Lionel McKenzie, one of the chief architects of modern general equilibrium theory and an “economist’s economist” revered for the clarity and rigor of his work, died yesterday. He was 91.
Professor McKenzie’s theories and mathematical proofs have provided economists for the past half-century with a way to understand and predict how changes in one area of the economy, such as raising or lowering taxes, will affect other areas of the economy.
“He was one of the great leaders in the field of economics in the ’50s, ’60s and on into the ’70s,” says Jerry Green, professor of economics at Harvard University and one of Professor McKenzie’s Ph.D. students at Rochester. “He was a pioneer in general equilibrium theory, demand theory and welfare measurement, and the theory of economic growth – all central topics in economic theory in those days. He was one of the best,” says Green.
Professor McKenzie’s contributions were to “high mathematical theory – the nuts and bolts of what economists learn – the core of their craft,” says E. Roy Weintraub, professor of economics at Duke University who has written a retrospective on Professor McKenzie’s work. He was the first to provide the now most widely employed proof for how economies, through competitive pricing, find a state in which the amount of every good supplied is equal to the demand, a condition economists call general equilibrium, says Professor Weintraub. “Every economics graduate student today has to learn that proof.”