Sir Richard Stone, knighted in 1978 and Nobel Laureate in Economics in 1984, is one of the pioneering architects of national income and social accounts, and is one of the few economists of his generation to have faced the challenge of economics as a science by combining theory and measurement within a cohesive framework. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for his “fundamental contributions to the development of national accounts,” but he has made equally significant contributions to the empirical analysis of consumer behavior. His work on the “Growth Project” has also been instrumental in the development of appropriate econometric methodology for the construction and the analysis of large disaggregated macroeconometric models.
Throughout his long and productive career, stretching over more than half a century, Stone has been an inspiration to applied econometricians all over the world. His influence goes well beyond his written work. He has made a lasting impact on the large number of (now prominent) economists and statisticians who visited the Department of Applied Economics when he was its Director. He is a scientist, a scholar, and above all, a gentleman. He gives generously of himself and is always willing to help the cause of applied econometrics. He has been a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge since 1945 and has served as the President of the Econometric Society (in 1955) and the President of the Royal Economic Society (during 1978–1980). In the interview that follows, Richard Stone gives us a delightful account of his time as a student at Westminster School, his early introduction to economics at Cambridge University, and he shares with us his memories and thoughts on a long and productive career. The interview was conducted in Stones' magnificent private library in Cambridge, and I hope that readers enjoy reading the interview as much as I enjoyed recording it.
Further details of Richard Stone's biography and research activities can be found in:
Deaton, A. Stone, John Richard Nicholas. In J. Eatwell, M. Milgate and P. Newman (eds.), The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics, Vol. 4, pp. 509–512. London: Macmillan, 1987.
Stone, J.R.N. An autobiographical sketch. In Les Prix Nobel 1984. Stockholm: Almquist and Wicksell International, 1985.