5 Questions With Robert Mundell

1999 Nobel Laureate, Robert Mundell, also known as Father of the Euro, elaborates on his life's work and what he thinks the global economy needs.

Q: What was the best advice you've ever received?

A: Not to invest my Nobel Prize money in the stock market in the year 2000. The dot-com collapse was inches away.

Q: What is the biggest victory in your career?

Robert Mundell, recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics in 1999.
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Robert Mundell, recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics in 1999.

A: It's a tough choice between two victories: (1) the victory of Supply-side Economics during the Reagan Administration, which slashed tax rates from the punitive levels in the top brackets and paved the way for the strong growth of the next two decades; and (2) the establishment of the euro in 1999, which gave Europe a currency comparable in scope and stability with the US dollar.

Q: What's the best investment you've ever made?

A: My education, first of all which brought me to some of the best universities in the world. My second best investment was my purchase of a castle in Italy in 1969, yielding a return in capital value comparable to a purchase of Intel stock in that year.

Q: If you could make one change to the global economy today, what would that be?

A: I would establish a world currency. If it were managed properly it would go far to eliminating or mitigating the financial crises that have rocked the world since the breakdown of the international monetary system in 1971.

Q: What keeps you awake at night?

A: Thinking. But I get over it.

Columbia University professor Robert Mundell is best known for his theory on optimal currency areas, which won him the 1999 Nobel Prize in Economics and the accolade of having "almost prophetic - accuracy in terms of predicting the future development of international monetary arrangements and capital markets". He helped to lay the groundwork for what is now the euro and co-founded the supply-side economics movement. Mundell believes "economics seems to apply to every nook and cranny of human experience" and many of the models that he has pioneered are still widely adopted by policymakers today.


Watch Robert Mundell's Past Interviews on CNBC:

  • Ideas on Improving the Economy
  • A Discussion on Growth, Taxation and Inflation
  • Insights on Supply-Side Solutions