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William Jack Baumol (February 26, 1922 - May 4, 2017) was an American economist. He was a professor of economics at New York University, Academic Director of the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He was a prolific author of more than eighty books and several hundred journal articles,
He was initially denied entry to the doctoral studies at the London School of Economics and was instead admitted to the Master's program. After witnessing his debating skills at Lord Lionel Robbins' seminars, he was within weeks switched to the doctoral program and also admitted to the faculty as an Assistant Lecturer. His Ph.D. oral exam lasted five hours.
The place of the disruptive innovations and innovative entrepreneurs in traditional economic theory (which describes many efficiency-based ratios assuming uniform outputs) presents theoretic quandaries. Baumol contributed greatly to this area of economic theory. The 2006 Annual Meetings of the American Economic Association held a special session in his name, and honoring his many years of work in the field of entrepreneurship and innovation, where 12 papers on entrepreneurship were presented.
In 2003, Baumol received the Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research "[f]or his persistent effort to give the entrepreneur a key role in mainstream economic theory, for his theoretical and empirical studies of the nature of entrepreneurship, and for his analysis of the importance of institutions and incentives for the allocation of entrepreneurship."
The British news magazine, The Economist published an article about William Baumol and his lifelong work to develop a place in economic theory for the entrepreneur (March 11, 2006, pp 68), much of which owes its genesis to Joseph Schumpeter. They note that traditional microeconomic theory normally holds a place for 'prices' and 'firms' but not for that (seemingly) important engine of innovation, the entrepreneur. Baumol is given credit for helping to remedy this shortcoming: "Thanks to Mr. Baumol's own painstaking efforts, economists now have a bit more room for entrepreneurs in their theories."
William Baumol's book, The Microtheory of Innovative Entrepreneurship is the first formal theoretical analysis of the role of innovative entrepreneurs.
Baumol wrote several textbooks in economics, including an introductory textbook with Alan Blinder titled Macroeconomics: Principles and Policy. His economics textbook on operations research was internationally well-received:
In the 1960s and 1970s, nearly every economics department offered a course in operations research methods in economics, and the usual textbook used was Economic Theory and Operations Analysis by W. J. Baumol. An entire generation of economics students was familiar with this book ....
1975 Townsend Harris Medal, Alumni Association of the City College of New York
1982 Distinguished Fellow, American Economic Association
1984 Distinguished Member, Economic Association of Puerto Rico
1986 Winner, Assoc. of American Publishers Award for Best Book in Business, Management and Economics, Superfairness: Applications and Theory
1987 Recipient, Frank E. Seidman Distinguished Award in Political Economy
1988 Joseph Douglas Green 1895 Professor of Economics, Princeton University
1989 Winner, Assoc. of Am. Publishers Annual Awards for Excellence in Publishing, Honorable Mention in Social Sciences, Productivity and American Leadership: The Long View
1992 Recipient, First Senior Scholar in the Arts and Sciences Award, New York University
1996 Honorary Degree, University of Limburg, Maastricht, Netherlands
1996 Honorary Professorship, University of Belgrano, Buenos Aires, Argentina
1999, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Princeton University
2003 Winner of the Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research, the Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum (Entreprenörskapsforum), the Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) and the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket), Stockholm, Sweden
^Baumol, William J.; Oates, Wallace E.; with contributions by V. S. Bawa and David F. Bradford (1988). "8 Detrimental externalities and nonconvexities in the production set". The Theory of environmental policy (Second ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. x+299. doi:10.2277/0521311128. ISBN978-0-521-31112-0.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
Non-convexities also appear in Baumol's theory of contestable markets: Pages 179-181: Salanié, Bernard (2000). Microeconomics of market failures (English translation of the (1998) French Microéconomie: Les défaillances du marché (Economica, Paris) ed.). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN978-0-262-19443-3.