Kenneth Arrow earned the 1972 Nobel Prize in Economics with Sir John Hicks for pioneering contributions to general equilibrium theory and welfare theory — theories underlying the assessment of business risk and government economic and welfare policies.
Arrow came to Stanford in 1949 as an assistant professor of economics and statistics and stayed for two decades, eventually becoming a professor of economics, statistics and operations research. He played a major role in the School of Engineering by helping to create and foster the Department of Operations Research — now part of Management Science and Engineering. Arrow left Stanford in 1968 to take a professorship at Harvard University.
One of the most influential economists of the 20th century, Arrow focused on applying economic theory to real-world problems. In a paper written 50 years before healthcare reform in the U.S., he observed that markets do not work in healthcare because patients lack the information they need to evaluate the quality of the services they are receiving.