George Akerlof

Autor de “Animal Spirits”. Premio Nobel de Economía 2001

Profesor en la McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University


George Akerlof estudió en la Universidad de Yale y en el Instituto de Tecnología de Massachusetts. Ganador del Premio Nobel de Economía junto con Joseph Stiglitz  y Michael Spence, George Akerlof posee una dilatada trayectoria profesional como economista.

En la década de los setenta George Akerlof sentó parte de los principios del concepto de información asimétrica en el mercado. Acababa de terminar su postgrado y doctorarse en el MIT y consiguió colocarse como profesor asistente en la Universidad de Berkeley. Tras unas charlas con Tom Rothenberg desarrolló el artículo que le valió el Nobel en 2001, El Mercado de Cacharros: Incertidumbre en las calidades y el Mecanismo de Mercado. Durante esa época, también trabajó en macroeconomía keynesiana y extrajo el primer modelo de su teoría de los salarios de eficiencia.

George Akerlof ha sido el pionero en la aplicación de la psicología y la sociología para el funcionamiento de la macroeconomía y es autor junto con Robert Shiller del gran éxito de ventas: “Animal Spirits, how human psycology drives the economy and why it matters for global capitalism”, donde plantean una nueva visión de la economía. Animal Spirits ofrece las pautas para entender mejor la economía y la psicología humana que la dirige.

En “Efficiency Wage Models of the Labor Market” (“Modelos de salarios de eficiencia del Mercado de trabajo”), George Akerlof y su coautor y actual esposa, Janet Yellen, propone un modelo de racionalidad para la hipótesis de los salarios de eficiencia, en la que los empleadores pagan salarios por encima de los de vaciamiento de mercado, en contradicción con las conclusiones del modelo neoclásico.

George Akerlof se graduó en la Lawrenceville School, recibió su licenciatura por la Universidad de Yale en 1962, y su doctorado del MIT en 1966. Ha sido profesor en la London School of Economics. Su esposa, Janet Yellen, fue presidenta del Banco de la Reserva Federal de San Francisco, profesora en la Universidad de Berkeley y actualmente preside la Reserva Federal de EE.UU.


Modelos de información asimétrica

Salarios de eficiencia


Cómo la psicología influye en la economía: Animal Spirits

Capitalismo Global

Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism

The global financial crisis has made it painfully clear that powerful psychological forces are imperiling the wealth of nations today. From blind faith in ever-rising housing prices to plummeting confidence in capital markets, "animal spirits" are driving financial events worldwide. In this book, acclaimed economists George Akerlof and Robert Shiller challenge the economic wisdom that got us into this mess, and put forward a bold new vision that will transform economics and restore prosperity.

Akerlof and Shiller reassert the necessity of an active government role in economic policymaking by recovering the idea of animal spirits, a term John Maynard Keynes used to describe the gloom and despondence that led to the Great Depression and the changing psychology that accompanied recovery. Like Keynes, Akerlof and Shiller know that managing these animal spirits requires the steady hand of government--simply allowing markets to work won't do it. In rebuilding the case for a more robust, behaviorally informed Keynesianism, they detail the most pervasive effects of animal spirits in contemporary economic life--such as confidence, fear, bad faith, corruption, a concern for fairness, and the stories we tell ourselves about our economic fortunes--and show how Reaganomics, Thatcherism, and the rational expectations revolution failed to account for them.

Animal Spirits offers a road map for reversing the financial misfortunes besetting us today. Read it and learn how leaders can channel animal spirits--the powerful forces of human psychology that are afoot in the world economy today.


"Akerlof and Shiller are the first to try to rework economic theory for our times. The effort itself makes their book a milestone. . . . And their book takes their case not just to economists, but also to the general reader. It is short (176 pages of text) and easy enough for laymen to understand."--Louis Uchitelle, New York Times Book Review

Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism

Identity Economics: How Our Identities Shape Our Work, Wages, and Well-Being

Identity Economics provides an important and compelling new way to understand human behavior, revealing how our identities--and not just economic incentives--influence our decisions. In 1995, economist Rachel Kranton wrote future Nobel Prize-winner George Akerlof a letter insisting that his most recent paper was wrong. Identity, she argued, was the missing element that would help to explain why people--facing the same economic circumstances--would make different choices. This was the beginning of a fourteen-year collaboration--and of Identity Economics.

The authors explain how our conception of who we are and who we want to be may shape our economic lives more than any other factor, affecting how hard we work, and how we learn, spend, and save. Identity economics is a new way to understand people's decisions--at work, at school, and at home. With it, we can better appreciate why incentives like stock options work or don't; why some schools succeed and others don't; why some cities and towns don't invest in their futures--and much, much more.

Identity Economics bridges a critical gap in the social sciences. It brings identity and norms to economics. People's notions of what is proper, and what is forbidden, and for whom, are fundamental to how hard they work, and how they learn, spend, and save. Thus people's identity--their conception of who they are, and of who they choose to be--may be the most important factor affecting their economic lives. And the limits placed by society on people's identity can also be crucial determinants of their economic well-being.


"Akerlof . . . and Kranton . . . explore the links between our identities and the everyday decisions we make about earning and spending money. Their goal is to add a more personal touch to economics."--New York Times

Identity Economics: How Our Identities Shape Our Work, Wages, and Well-Being

Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception

Phishing for Phools therefore strikes a radically new direction in economics, based on the intuitive idea that markets both give and take away. Akerlof and Shiller bring this idea to life through dozens of stories that show how phishing affects everyone, in almost every walk of life. We spend our money up to the limit, and then worry about how to pay the next month’s bills. The financial system soars, then crashes. We are attracted, more than we know, by advertising. Our political system is distorted by money. We pay too much for gym memberships, cars, houses, and credit cards. Drug companies ingeniously market pharmaceuticals that do us little good, and sometimes are downright dangerous.

Phishing for Phools explores the central role of manipulation and deception in fascinating detail in each of these areas and many more. It thereby explains a paradox: why, at a time when we are better off than ever before in history, all too many of us are leading lives of quiet desperation. At the same time, the book tells stories of individuals who have stood against economic trickery—and how it can be reduced through greater knowledge, reform, and regulation.


"In an entertaining and lively account, Akerlof and Shiller show that while the pursuit of profits may lead to products that enrich our lives, it may also lead to manipulation and deception. Much of recent innovation has led to products that make cheating the public easier. The implications are complex and profound."--Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate in Economics

Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception