Peter J. Hammond is an academic economist who has published research articles on optimal economic growth, social choice and normative decision theory with applications to ethical public policy, game theory and its applications, the design of economic systems, and probability theory. He is also the coauthor of an undergraduate textbook, Essential Mathematics for Economic Analysis, as well as of Further Mathematics for Economic Analysis intended for graduate students. From 1975–79 he was a chief co-editor of the Review of Economic Studies, one of the “top five” journals in economics.
Peter was born near Manchester in the UK a few hours late for the celebrations in Western Europe marking the defeat of the Nazi regime. He went to school in various parts of the south of England until 1964 when he took up an Open Scholarship in Mathematics at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, completing the Mathematics Tripos in 1967. After a summer working for what one would now call a software startup, he then switched to economics. His Ph.D. thesis on “Consistent Planning and Intertemporal Welfare Economics”, supervised by Sir James Mirrlees, was completed in 1973. He was Lecturer, then Professor of Economics at the University of Essex from 1971 to 1979, when he emigrated to the USA to become Professor of Economics at Stanford University. There he was granted Emeritus status in 2007 upon accepting a Marie Curie Excellence Chair from the European Commission, tenable at the University of Warwick in England. Since 2010 he has had a half-time appointment there as Professor of Economics. He has also had visiting or research appointments at Nuffield College, Oxford, and the London School of Economics, as well as in Australia, Israel, Austria, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Singapore. He currently resides both in Coventry in the English Midlands and at Stanford.
Peter was elected to a Fellowship of the Econometric Society in 1977 and of the British Academy in 2009. He has also held a Guggenheim fellowship and a research award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany. He has honorary doctorates from the University of Kiel in Germany and the University of Oslo.
Peter remembers learning that atmospheric carbon dioxide has a warming effect from a library book on science he had borrowed in about 1957. He regards greenhouse gas emissions as a prominent example of the “widespread externalities” that have been the subject of some of his research papers. He has also written one paper on the concept of sustainable development, and another on how far the standard economists’ arguments on gains from trade can be extended to include trade in carbon dioxide emission permits.