Economics and Decision Sciences

Quotable "Quotes"

"I keep saying the sexy job in the next ten years will be statisticians. People think I'm joking, but who would've guessed that computer engineers would've been the sexy job of the 1990s?"

The McKinsey Quarterly, January 2009
Hal Varian, Google's Chief Economist, on Statistics and Data

"The ability to take data - to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualize it, to communicate it's going to be a hugely important skill in the next decades, not only at the professional level but even at the educational level for elementary school kids, for high school kids, for college kids. Because now we really do have essentially free and ubiquitous data. So the complimentary scarce factor is the ability to understand that data and extract value from it...... those skills - of being able to access, understand, and communicate the insights you get from data analysis - are going to be extremely important."

The McKinsey Quarterly, January 2009
Hal Varian, Google's Chief Economist, on Statistics and Data

"Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose."

"I have the nerve to walk my own way, however hard, in my search for reality, rather than climb upon the rattling wagon of wishful illusions."

Zora Neal Hurston, an author, anthropologist, titan and a preeminent writer of the twentieth-century African American literature

"Samuelson was the Julia Child of economics, somehow teaching you the basics and giving you the feeling of becoming an insider in a complex culture all at the same time. I loved the Foundations. Like so many others in my cohort, I internalized its view that if I couldn’t formulate a problem in economic theory mathematically, I didn’t know what I was doing. I came to the position that mathematical analysis is not one of many ways of doing economic theory: It is the only way. Economic theory is mathematical analysis. Everything else is just pictures and talk."

Robert Lucas,
Economics Nobel Laureate

"A claim for equality of material position can be met only by a government with totalitarian powers."

Friedrich A.von Hayek,
Economics Nobel Laureate

"All wealth consists of desirable things; that is, things which satisfy human wants directly or indirectly: but not all desirable things are reckoned as wealth."

Alfred Marshall

"[T]he stern reproach that I received often for not being quite true to the new orthodoxy of neo-Keynesianism came mostly from my thesis supervisor - the totally brilliant but vigorously intolerant Joan Robinson."

Amartya Sen,
Economics Nobel Laureate

"But I fear I could not get anyone in Trinity, or in Cambridge, very excited in the "theory" of social choice. I had to choose quite a different subject for my research thesis, after completing my B.A. The thesis was on "the choice of techniques," which interested Joan Robinson as well as Maurice Dobb."

Amartya Sen,
Economics Nobel Laureate

"I have learned as much in the last three years as in any other comparable period of my life, but with an added realisation of how little over a half century of study one has in fact managed to learn of the whole range of economic policy issues."

James Meade,
Economics Nobel Laureate

"The purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of ready-made answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists."

Joan Robinson
(from "Economics and Public Purpose", 1973)

"I guess I should warn you, if I turn out to be particularly clear, you've probably misunderstood what I've said."

Alan Greenspan

"In 1963 and later papers, I pointed out that the special market characteristics of medical care and medical insurance could be explained by reference to differences in information among the parties involved."

Kenneth Joseph Arrow,
Economics Nobel Laureate

"I do not know which makes a man more conservative - to know nothing but the present, or nothing but the past."
"I work for a Government I despise for ends I think criminal."
"Ideas shape the course of history."

John Maynard Keynes