Canadian economist who received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1999 for his analysis of the optimum currency area and his work on the scope of monetary and fiscal policy under different exchange rate regimes.
In the 1960s, Mundell developed the concept of optimum currency areas – optimum from the point of view of maximizing the benefits of international trade and securing internal and external balance. In 1969, he devised a plan for a European currency, called the Europa, and in the 1970s advised the European Commission on alternative routes to monetary union. But his fame with economists rests rather on his analysis of the impact of monetary and fiscal policies under alternative systems of fixed and flexible exchange rates. He was an early advocate of supply-side economics and a pioneer in advancing the monetary approach to the balance of payments.
Mundell earned his BA from the University of British Columbia in 1953, his MA from the University of Washington in 1954, and his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1956. He began teaching at Stanford University in 1958, worked for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) 1961–63, and became a professor at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland (1965–75) and the University of Chicago (1966–71). In 1974 he joined the faculty of economics at Columbia University, New York. He was a distinguished fellow of the American Economic Association in 1997 and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1998.
His publications include International Economics (1968), Monetary Theory: Interest, Inflation and Growth in the World Economy (1971), The New International Monetary System (1978; co-edited with J V Polak), and Debts, Deficits and Economic Performance (1992; with M Baldassarra and J McCallum).