Paul Romer

Steve Burns/WCBS 880

NYU Economist Paul Romer Wins Nobel Prize

October 08, 2018 - 1:23 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- The Nobel Prize in economics was awarded Monday, and one of this year’s winners does his work at NYU.

WCBS 880’s Steve Burns spoke with Paul Romer.

Back in the early 1980s, Romer watched a colleague agonize year after year about not winning the Nobel Prize.

“I remember promising myself at the time, I'm never going to want to have the Nobel Prize. I'm never going to hope for it,” he said. “I'm never going to expect it, because it can just tear you up.”

Romer certainly was not expecting the Nobel Prize on Monday morning. In fact, he said thinking the prizes were being given out next Monday, he ignored two early-morning phone calls, thinking they were spam.

But when he saw they were from Sweden a little while later, he called back.

“They asked me if I would accept and I didn't even want it, but, yeah, I'll accept,” he said.

Romer’s work at NYU focuses on the economy of ideas, treating knowledge as a commodity that can be grown and spread.

“If we can give people a chance to do what they want to do, which is just move in and connect with this world of opportunity, with this chance to learn, we can really make a difference in what the quality of life is like for billions of people,” he said.

Romer is a co-winner of the prize, along with Bill Nordhouse at Yale University.