Edmund Phelps, born in 1933 in Evanston, grew up in Hastings-on-Hudson. He earned his B.A. from Amherst (1955) and his Ph.D. from Yale (1959). He is McVickar Professor of Political Economy at Columbia University, Director of Columbia's Center on Capitalism and Society, and winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Economics. His career began at the RAND Corporation. From 1960-1966 he held appointments at Yale and its Cowles Foundation, then a professorship at Penn. In 1971 he joined Columbia.
Phelps's work can be seen as a program to put "people as we know them" back into economic models - accounting for the incompleteness of their information and studying the effects of their expectations on the market. He applies this perspective in studying unemployment and inclusion, economic growth, business swings and dynamism.
Phelps is a Fellow of the National Academy of Science and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association. In 2008 he was named Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, awarded the Premio Pico della Mirandola and the Kiel Global Economy Prize. The same year the UBA Law School established the Catedra Phelps. He holds many honorary doctorates and professorships. In 2001 a Festschrift conference was held in his honor.