Gerard Debreu - Intellectuals & Academics, Timeline and Facts

Home  ›  French  ›  Gerard DebreuJuly 4, 1921235 views

0.0 based on 0 rates

Gerard Debreu's Personal Details

Gerard Debreu was a French-born American economist who brought mathematical precision to economics

InformationDetail
BirthdayJuly 4, 1921
Died onDecember 31, 2004
NationalityFrench, American
FamousUniversity Of California, Berkeley, Intellectuals & Academics, Economists
SpousesFrançoise Bled
Childrens Chantal, Florence
Universities
  • University Of California, Berkeley
  • University of California
  • Berkeley
  • University of Paris
  • École Normale Supérieure
Notable Alumnis
  • University Of California
  • Berkeley
Founder / Co-Founder
  • axiomatic foundation
Birth PlaceCalais
Born CountryFrance
GenderMale
FatherCamille Debreu
MotherFernande Decharne Debreu
Sun SignCancer
Born inCalais
Famous asEconomist
Died at Age83

// Famous Alumni of University Of California, Berkeley

Gerard Debreu's photo

Who is Gerard Debreu?

Gerard Debreu was a French-born American economist well-known for several contributions, the major one being his bringing a mathematical precision to economics in theories like that of supply and demand. For his outstanding work in the field of economics, especially in the field of general equilibrium, he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in 1983. Debreu served for most of his career at the University of Yale and at the University of California. He was a recipient of numerous awards, having being made an officer of the French Legion of Honor in 1976, as well as having being elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1977. He also had a keen interest in politics as well as human rights. He is remembered for his gracious, polite and humble nature as well. In the later part of his life, his studies were mainly centered on the theory of differentiable economies. He struggled to show that, in general, aggregate excess demand functions vanish at a finite number of points. In other words, his works prove how economies have a finite number of price equilibria.

// Famous Intellectuals & Academics

Childhood & Early Life

Gerard Debreu was born to Camille Debreu and Fernande Debreu, in Calais, France on 4 July 1921. At an early age his father committed suicide and his mother died of natural causes, which left him as an orphan.

He did most of his schooling in his native town and completed high school prior to the start of the Second World War. After that, he went to Ambert to prepare for his university entrance examinations.

Because of the war, he could not take his final examinations, and instead, had to enlist himself in the French army, after which he was transferred for training to Algeria. Then he served in the occupying French forces in Germany until July 1945.

After the war ended Debreu passed his Agrégation de Mathématiques exams. By this time he had also started developing an interest in economics, particularly in the general equilibrium theory of Leon Walras.

He served as an assistant in ‘The French National Centre for Scientific Research’ from 1946 to 1948. It was during these two and a half years that he made the transition from mathematics to economics.

Debreu managed to visit the US on a Rockefeller Fellowship in 1948. It allowed him to visit several American universities, as well as the ones in Uppsala and Oslo.

Career

Gerard Debreu began his career by working as a Research Associate. He joined the Cowles Commission at the University of Chicago in 1950. Though he remained there for five years, he visited Paris from time to time.

Debreu had to devote all of his time and focus on his research, as the Cowles Commission was beyond all his expectations and provided him with a rich intellectual atmosphere. Debates, discussions, and research on mathematical economics helped him progress in his work on Pareto Optima, on utility, as well as on his research on the existence of a general economic equilibrium.

Together with economist, writer, and political theorist Kenneth Arrow, he published a paper ‘Existence of Equilibrium for a Competitive Economy’ in 1954. In this work they managed to prove the existence of a general equilibrium, using topological rather than Calculus based methods.

He published a classic monograph ‘Theory of Value: An Axiomatic Analysis of Economic Equilibrium’, which was published in 1959. Here, he provided the mathematical underpinnings for the phenomenon of equilibrium in supply and demand that was first articulated by Adam Smith almost two centuries ago, in 1776. Debreu managed to develop methods by which to analyze factors influencing equilibrium.

In 1960-61, he worked at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. Here, Debreu spent most of his time researching for the proof of a general theorem on the existence of an economic equilibrium.

He started working at the University of California, Berkeley, from January 1962. Here, he held the title of University Professor of both Economics and Mathematics.

In the fall of 1968, he took several long leaves. He visited the University of Lorain, Churchill College, Cambridge University, and other such educational institutes. His later research was in Berkeley during the 1970s. And in the 1980s, he focused on the study of subjects like different utility functions and on the characterization of the excess demand functions of an economy.

Major Works

His first work was ‘Existence of an Equilibrium for a Competitive Economy’, which he wrote together with Kenneth Arrow. It was Leon Walras, who had first formulated the state of the economic system at any point of time as the solution of a system of simultaneous equations that represent the demand for goods by consumers, along with the supply of goods by producers, along with the equilibrium condition that supply equal demand on each market. But Walras couldn’t give any conclusive arguments to prove his theory, according to which, every consumer acted so as to maximize their utility and each producer acted so as to maximize their profit. However, Gerard Debreu and Kenneth Arrow were able to prove the theory in this work, using calculus-based methods.

Theory of Value: An Axiomatic Analysis of Economic Equilibrium’, which Gerard Debreu published in 1959, is regarded as one of the most important works in mathematical economics. In this work, the mathematical underpinnings for the phenomenon of equilibrium in the theory of supply and demand are provided and explained. It was first articulated by Adam Smith in 1776. Its logical consistency is proved and its efficiency properties are investigated as well.

Mathematical Economics: Twenty Papers of Gerard Debreu’ was published in 1986. The twenty papers related to mathematical economics in this work were selected by the author himself. This book also has a brief introduction by German economist and mathematician, Werner Hildenbrand, who not only assesses Professor Debreu's contribution to economic theory but also explains the important part these papers played in the development of the subject.

Landmark Papers in General Equilibrium Theory, Social Choice and Welfare’ was another one of Debreu’s and Arrow’s most important works, which was published in 2001. Here, those papers, which in their views have made the most important contributions, are collected, for the benefit of students and researchers of economics.

Awards & Achievements

He received the French Legion of Honor in 1976.

In 1983, Gerard Debreu was awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel "for having incorporated new analytical methods into economic theory and for his rigorous reformulation of the theory of general equilibrium.

Personal Life & Legacy

In 1945 Gerard Debreu married Françoise Bled. They had two daughters, Chantal and Florence, born in August 1946 and February 1950 respectively.

He breathed his last on 31 December 2004 in Paris, France, at the age of 83.

// Famous Economists

Gerard Debreu awards

YearNameAward

Other

1983 - Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics

Gerard Debreu biography timelines

  • // 1776 To 1959
    He published a classic monograph ‘Theory of Value: An Axiomatic Analysis of Economic Equilibrium’, which was published in 1959. Here, he provided the mathematical underpinnings for the phenomenon of equilibrium in supply and demand that was first articulated by Adam Smith almost two centuries ago, in 1776. Debreu managed to develop methods by which to analyze factors influencing equilibrium.
  • // 1776 To 1959
    Theory of Value: An Axiomatic Analysis of Economic Equilibrium’, which Gerard Debreu published in 1959, is regarded as one of the most important works in mathematical economics. In this work, the mathematical underpinnings for the phenomenon of equilibrium in the theory of supply and demand are provided and explained. It was first articulated by Adam Smith in 1776. Its logical consistency is proved and its efficiency properties are investigated as well.
  • // 4th Jul 1921
    Gerard Debreu was born to Camille Debreu and Fernande Debreu, in Calais, France on 4 July 1921. At an early age his father committed suicide and his mother died of natural causes, which left him as an orphan.
  • // Jul 1945
    Because of the war, he could not take his final examinations, and instead, had to enlist himself in the French army, after which he was transferred for training to Algeria. Then he served in the occupying French forces in Germany until July 1945.
  • // 1946 To 1948
    He served as an assistant in ‘The French National Centre for Scientific Research’ from 1946 to 1948. It was during these two and a half years that he made the transition from mathematics to economics.
  • // 1948
    Debreu managed to visit the US on a Rockefeller Fellowship in 1948. It allowed him to visit several American universities, as well as the ones in Uppsala and Oslo.
  • // 1950
    Gerard Debreu began his career by working as a Research Associate. He joined the Cowles Commission at the University of Chicago in 1950. Though he remained there for five years, he visited Paris from time to time.
  • // 1954
    Together with economist, writer, and political theorist Kenneth Arrow, he published a paper ‘Existence of Equilibrium for a Competitive Economy’ in 1954. In this work they managed to prove the existence of a general equilibrium, using topological rather than Calculus based methods.
  • // 1960 To 1961
    In 1960-61, he worked at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. Here, Debreu spent most of his time researching for the proof of a general theorem on the existence of an economic equilibrium.
  • // Jan 1962
    He started working at the University of California, Berkeley, from January 1962. Here, he held the title of University Professor of both Economics and Mathematics.
  • // 1976
    He received the French Legion of Honor in 1976.
  • // 1983
    In 1983, Gerard Debreu was awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel "for having incorporated new analytical methods into economic theory and for his rigorous reformulation of the theory of general equilibrium.
  • // 1986
    Mathematical Economics: Twenty Papers of Gerard Debreu’ was published in 1986. The twenty papers related to mathematical economics in this work were selected by the author himself. This book also has a brief introduction by German economist and mathematician, Werner Hildenbrand, who not only assesses Professor Debreu's contribution to economic theory but also explains the important part these papers played in the development of the subject.
  • // 2001
    Landmark Papers in General Equilibrium Theory, Social Choice and Welfare’ was another one of Debreu’s and Arrow’s most important works, which was published in 2001. Here, those papers, which in their views have made the most important contributions, are collected, for the benefit of students and researchers of economics.
  • // 31st Dec 2004
    He breathed his last on 31 December 2004 in Paris, France, at the age of 83.

// Famous French

Gerard Debreu's FAQ

  • What is Gerard Debreu birthday?

    Gerard Debreu was born at 1921-07-04

  • When was Gerard Debreu died?

    Gerard Debreu was died at 2004-12-31

  • Where was Gerard Debreu died?

    Gerard Debreu was died in Paris

  • Which age was Gerard Debreu died?

    Gerard Debreu was died at age 83

  • Where is Gerard Debreu's birth place?

    Gerard Debreu was born in Calais

  • What is Gerard Debreu nationalities?

    Gerard Debreu's nationalities is French,American

  • Who is Gerard Debreu spouses?

    Gerard Debreu's spouses is Françoise Bled

  • Who is Gerard Debreu childrens?

    Gerard Debreu's childrens is Chantal, Florence

  • What was Gerard Debreu universities?

    Gerard Debreu studied at University Of California, Berkeley, University of California, Berkeley, University of Paris, École Normale Supérieure

  • What was Gerard Debreu notable alumnis?

    Gerard Debreu's notable alumnis is University Of California, Berkeley

  • Which company or organization was founded by Gerard Debreu?

    Gerard Debreu was the founder/co-founder of axiomatic foundation

  • Who is Gerard Debreu's father?

    Gerard Debreu's father is Camille Debreu

  • Who is Gerard Debreu's mother?

    Gerard Debreu's mother is Fernande Decharne Debreu

  • What is Gerard Debreu's sun sign?

    Gerard Debreu is Cancer

  • How famous is Gerard Debreu?

    Gerard Debreu is famouse as Economist