Autism success stories – Vernon L. Smith
Each week, along with Autism Care UK we profile a famous face across the autism spectrum. This week we take a closer look at Nobel Laureate in Economics Vernon Smith.
Who is Vernon L. Smith?
Born in 1927 in Wichita, Kansas, Vernon Lomax Smith is a professor of economics at Chapman University. He is also a research scholar at George Mason University Interdisciplinary Centre for Economic Science, and a Fellow of the Mercatus Centre based in Arlington, Virginia. One of his greatest achievements to date came in 2002 where he shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Daniel Kahneman. Other prominent achievements include being the founder and president of the International Foundation for Research in Experimental Economics and a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington D.C. As well as his bachelor’s degree, M.A and Ph.D. Smith was awarded an honoury doctorate from the Universidad Francisco Marroquín, an institution that has also named the Vernon Smith Centre for Experimental Economics Research, after him.
In the Spotlight
Smith attended high school in his home town Wichita North High School and Friends University before he received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Caltech in 1949, this was supplemented first by a M.A in economics from the University of Kansas and then a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.
In his first role after University Smith joined the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University, which he held between 1955 and 1967. As well as this at the same time Smith was also teaching at the prestigious Stanford University as a visiting professor. Following from these roles Smith moved to Massachusetts to work first at Brown University and then University of Massachusetts. These were followed by tenures at the Centre for Advanced Study in the Behavioural Sciences and then Caltech.
It was during his time at Caltech that Smith was encouraged to, in particular by Charlie Plott, to formalize his methodology of experimental economics, which he did with the publication of two articles. His first article, published in 1976 in the American Economic Review (AER) Experimental Economics: Induced Value Theory. This was the first articulation of the principle behind economic experiments. Six years later, these principles were expanded in his second article Microeconomic Systems as an Experimental Science also in the AER.
Much of Smith’s research that earned Smith his Nobel Prize took place between 1976 and 2002 while Smith was based at the University of Arizona. After his tenure in Tucson Smith left to take up a post at George Mason University. This was followed by Smith founding the Economic Science Institute at Chapman University. In total Smith has either or co-authored over 200 articles and books, primarily examining capital theory, finance, natural resource economics and experimental economics.
Veron’s experience of Ausperger’s.
In February 2005 Smith spoke out publicly about his Asperger syndrome. To watch Vernon’s appearance on CNBC then click here to watch the video.