George Stigler

George Joseph Stigler (January 17, 1911December 1, 1991) was a U.S. economist. He won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1982, and was a key leader of the Chicago School of Economics, along with his close friend Milton Friedman.


  • A rational man must be guided by the incentive system within which he operates. No matter what his own personal desires, he must be discouraged from certain activities if they carry penalties and attracted toward others if they carry large rewards. The carrot and the stick guide scientists and politicians as well as donkeys.
    • Stigler (1975, p.171) as cited in: Owen E.Hughes (2003) Public Management and Administration. p.11


  • I recall an incident involving the late George Stigler at a conference in Spain in the 1980s. Hearing that I had written a book on reason and natural law, Stigler started to ridicule reason, going so far as to say that there is as much reason in a monkey's antics as in any human act. At that point I asked him whether he was trying to tell me something about how he wrote his books; he gave me a blank stare and stormed out of the room.
    • Frank Van Dun (2009) "Argumentation Ethics and the Philosophy of Freedom," in: Libertarian Papers. 1 (19). 1-32.

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Last modified on 14 February 2014, at 18:52