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Robert J. Gordon

Robert J. Gordon
Born (1940-09-03) September 3, 1940
Nationality American
Institution Northwestern University
Field Macroeconomics
Social economics
School or tradition
New Keynesian economics
Alma mater Harvard University (1962)
Oxford University (1964)
MIT (1967)
Contributions Core inflation
Growth theory
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Robert James "Bob" Gordon is an American economist. He is the Stanley G. Harris Professor of the Social Sciences at Northwestern University. He is known for his work on productivity, growth, the causes of unemployment, and airline economics.


  • Education 1
  • Career and contributions 2
  • Family 3
  • Selected works 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Gordon graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. from Harvard University in 1962. He then attended Oxford University and received his B.A. in 1964. He received his Ph.D. from MIT in 1967 with a dissertation titled Problems in the Measurement of Real Investment in the U.S. Private Economy.

Career and contributions

From 1995 to 1997, he served on the Boskin Commission to assess the accuracy of the United States Consumer Price Index (CPI), having written the definitive criticism of CPI inflation overstatement in 1990. He is also a member of the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the NBER, which determines when recessions start and end.

Robert J. Gordon's popular text Macroeconomics was the first to incorporate the rational expectations hypothesis into the analysis of the Phillips curve. Soon all subsequent macro textbooks were expounding the "Expectations Augmented Phillips Curve." In addition, Gordon has written for economic journals, outlining the relation of the productivity growth of modern day inventions to the great inventions of the late 19th century. He focuses on the impact of computers in the post-1995 economy on the durable manufacturing sector. Furthermore, he emphasises the marginal productivity of computing technology affects standard of living in a much more contained fashion than the earlier great American inventions.[1][2] He downplays the role of computer technology in the economic growth of the latter 20th century in accounting for business cycle and trends. In addition, he also questions the actual productivity of such technological developments.


Gordon is a member of a family of economists. Both his parents Robert Aaron and Margaret earned distinction independently, each contributing to economic knowledge with a view to real practical benefit for society, as did his brother David, himself more of a radical. For example, his father is the namesake of the "Gordon Report" which proposed reforms for the computation of the unemployment rate by the US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. He currently resides in Evanston, Illinois with his wife Julie.

Selected works

  • Macroeconomics. Addison Wesley. 2002.  
  • The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices. University of Chicago Press. 1990.  
  • "The Demand for and Supply of Inflation".  
  • "Recent Developments in the Theory of Inflation and Unemployment".  
  • Milton Friedman's Monetary Framework: A Debate With His Critics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1977. 


  1. ^ Gordon, Robert J. (2000). "Does the 'New Economy' measure up to the great Inventions of the Past?". Journal of Economic Perspectives (American Economic Association) 14 (4): 49–74.  
  2. ^ Gordon, Robert J. (2000). "Interpreting the "One Big Wave" in U.S. Long Term Productivity Growth , National Bureau of Economic Research Working paper 7752". 

External links

  • Northwestern University: Robert J. Gordon at the Wayback Machine (archived February 14, 2014)
  • Robert J. Gordon's economics papers at RePEc
  • Robert J. Gordon at TED
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