Kenneth J. Arrow papers, 1921-2017

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Arrow, Kenneth J. (Kenneth Joseph), 1921-2017
Kenneth Arrow (1921-2017) was a Nobel Prize winner and the Joan Kenney Professor of Economics and Professor of Operations Research, Emeritus at Stanford University. This collection consists of his correspondence, research, writings, and other materials documenting his political and personal interests, as well as his collaborations and professional affiliations across the fields of economics, mathematics, public policy, and international relations. It forms part of the Economists' Papers Archive.
142 Linear Feet (97 boxes.)
13.2 Gigabytes (Four sets.)
Material in English.
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

This collection documents Arrow's career as an economist, professor, and Nobel Laureate. It provides an overview of his many professional activities, along with his research, writings, and collected notes regarding topics such as microeconomics, contingent valuation, social choice theory, general equilibrium analysis, the economics of information, climate change, and endogenous-growth theories. The collection also documents his collaboration and communications with prominent economists such as Robert Aumann, Gerard Debreu, Frank Hahn, John Harsanyi, Leonid Hurwicz, Harold Hotelling, Tjalling Koopmans, Alain Lewis, Lionel McKenzie, Roy Radner, Martin Shubik, Herbert Simon, Robert Solow, and many others.

Along with his own scholarship and writings, the collection documents Arrow's role as an expert witness during various legal cases involving anti-trust lawsuits, international trade, and public utilities; his professional consulting work for different groups and organizations; his political activism supporting different human rights organizations, including his involvement in agencies promoting peace in the Middle East, environmental regulation, arms reduction, and nuclear testing bans; his itineraries, lectures, and public engagements; administrative activities for various professional associations and conferences, including his leadership roles in the American Economic Association, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Beijer Institute, the Econometric Society, the International Economic Association, the Office of Naval Research, the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Science, the National Bureau of Economic Research, and many more; and his departmental roles, committee work, and teaching contributions in the Economics Departments of Stanford University, Harvard University, and the Santa Fe Institute. The collection also contains personal artifacts and documents from Arrow's childhood and early education; awards and honorary degrees, including the Clark Medal, the National Medal of Science, and materials from the Nobel Prize ceremony; assorted books from his personal library; various foreign editions of his published works, in multiple languages; and born-digital records with his email and other working documents.

Biographical / historical:
Date Event
Born in New York, NY
BS, Mathematics, City College of New York
MA, Mathematics, Columbia University
Weather Officer, US Army Air Corps
Married Selma Schweitzer
Research Associate, Cowles Commission for Research in Economics
Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Chicago
Consultant, RAND Corporation
Acting Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor of Economics and Statistics, Stanford University
PhD, Economics, Columbia University
Social Choice and Individual Values
(with G. Debreu) "Existence of Equilibrium for a Competitive Economy," Econometrica,
John Bates Clark Medal by American Economics Association
Economist, Council of Economic Advisers
Professor of Economics, Harvard University
Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences
President, American Economics Association
Professor of Economics and Operations Research, Stanford University
President, International Economic Association
2017, Feb. 21
Died in Palo Alto, CA
Acquisition information:
The Kenneth J. Arrow papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library as gifts in 1978 and 1998-2018.
Processing information:

Processed by Hugo Chu, Jonathan Cogliano, Matthew Farrell, and Meghan Lyon.

Accessions described in this collection guide: 1998-0297, 2000-0222, 2001-0004, 2002-0300, 2004-0128, 2005-0065, 2007-0214, 2008-0037, 2010-0045, 2010-0182, 2011-0175, 2012-0115, 2017-0059, 2018-0010, and the original 1978 gift.


The Kenneth Arrow papers are arranged into seven series: Correspondence, Email Correspondence, Professional Service, Research and Notes, Writings, Academia, and Personal.

Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


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Access restricted. Correspondence is restricted for ten years following the date of its creation (expires in full by 2027). Contact Research Services to request permission to view.

Access note. Some materials in this collection are electronic records that require special equipment. Contact Research Services with questions.

Terms of access:

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the Rubenstein Library's Citations, Permissions, and Copyright guide.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Kenneth J. Arrow papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Duke University.