Maurice Allais

French physicist and economic Nobel Laureate Maurice Allais has died at age 99.  Allais is best known among American economists for the Allais paradox but Allais was a polymath with contributions (and JSTOR here) in a huge number of areas many of which were often overlooked because his work was not translated into english (an unfortunate fact which is still true today).

One thing that few people know about Allais was that he was a big proponent of the gold standard and Austrian business cycle theory, even citing Mises and Rothbard in some of his work.  See in particular his paper in English, The Credit Mechanism and its Implications (1987) in Feiwel (ed), Arrow and the Foundations of the Theory of Economic Policy.  See also here for further citations in french.

As might be expected from a polymath, Allais's views are difficult to pigeonhole.  He was a strong proponent of private property and the market economy, for example, but to create the consensus necessary to produce such a society he also favored immigration restrictions and protectionism.

Amazingly, Allais also conducted ground breaking experiments on pendulums which earned him the 1959 Galabert Prize of the French Astronautical Society and which may have revealed an anomaly in general relativity that physicists refer to as the Allais effect.


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