Finding Equilibrium: Arrow, Debreu, McKenzie and the Problem of Scientific Credit

Till Dübbe and E. Roy Weintraub

Telling the story behind the proof of the central theorem in economics, Weintraub and his co-author consider the changing nature of the scientific community and the connections between the personal and public rewards of scientific work. While Kenneth Arrow and Gerard Debreu would later go on to win separate Nobel prizes in economics, Lionel McKenzie would never receive it.

The authors cover the complex interplay between each man’s personal life and their work, and examine compelling ideas about scientific credit, publication, regard for different research institutions, and the awarding of Nobel prizes. Instead of asking whether recognition was rightly or wrongly given, and who were the heroes or villains, the book considers attitudes toward intellectual credit and strategies to gain it vis-à-vis the communities that grant it.