M. L. T. professor Paul A. Samuelson, author of a popular economics text and developer of static and dynamic economic theory, was awarded the 1970 Nobel Prize in Economics yesterday.
In announcing the $80,000 award, Sweden's Royal Academy of Science said that Samuelson, "by his many contributions, has done more than any other contemporary economist to raise the level of scientific analysis in economic theory."
The Academy added that Samuelson has also "rewritten considerable parts of central economic theory, and has in several areas achieved results which now rank among the classical theorems of economics."
"I would consider this to mean the work in Foundations of Economics (1947), which dealt with static and dynamic theory- supplemented by approximately 150 papers since then," Samuelson said yesterday. "I don't think it was for my textbook."
Samuelson, a former Harvard Faculty member, was cited by McGeorge Bundy in a recent article in Daedalus as one of those whom Harvard "failed to keep when it could and was never able to win back."
Asked if he had ever considered returning, Samuelson said "On a couple of occasions I have had several very flattering offers to return, but on consideration, I realized that my situation at M. I. T. was perfect. There are sometimes very romantic rumors that I'd been badly treated at Harvard, but that isn't the case."
In terms of general problems, Samuelson said that the biggest unsolved difficulty in economics is that "no mixed economy, like ours, knows how to have good income policies so it can combine full employment with stable prices."
"This problem will be tough," Samuelson said. "But I'm an optimist- that's what research is for."
Samuelson is currently a consultant to the Federal Reserve Board, and he has been an adviser to past administrations.
Samulson was informed of the decision at 5:45 yesterday morning. His first thought upon hearing the phone ring was that "one of my children has been in an auto accident." It wasn't that at all. After the initial shock had worn off, Samuelson said, "I thought the news was kind of nice."