Robert James Gordon is an economics professor at Northwestern University. He also holds the title of "Stanley G. Harris Professor in the social sciences".
He is an expert on measuring and explaining productivity growth, the causes of unemployment and airline economics.
From 1995-1997 he served on the Boskin Commission to assess the accuracy of the United States Consumer Price Index (CPI), having written the definitive criticism of CPI
inflation-overstatement in 1990.
Bob Gordon is a member of a family of economists. Both his parents Robert Aaron and Margaret earned distinction independently, each contributing to economic knowledge with a view to real practical benefit for society, likewise his brother David, more of a radical. For example, his father is the namesake of the "Gordon Report" which proposed reforms for the computation of the unemployment rate by the US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. This matches nicely with the younger Gordon's recent work on the CPI
The inflation rate and unemployment rate trace the famous Phillips Curve. The New Zealander William Phillips won fame in 1958 by plotting one scatter diagram. Within twenty years over 1,000 articles on the Phillips Curve had been written in learned journals. The path of research history took a turn with the advent of the Rational Expectations hypothesis championed by Robert E. Lucas and others of the Chicago School during the 1970s.
It is something of a record for the short time lapse between the rise of the Rational Expectations school, confined initially to graduate seminars, and its appearance in a standard intermediate textbook. Robert J. Gordon's popular text Macroeconomics
was the first to incorporate the Rational Expectations hypothesis into the analysis of the Phillips Curve. Soon all subsequent macro textbooks were expounding the "Expectations Augmented Phillips Curve." Twenty-five years out now, from the first appearance of Gordon's text, this is still the standard approach to the question of the trade-off between inflation and unemployment, short run and long run.
- Macroeconomics, Addison Wesley, 2002 ISBN 0-201-77036-9
- The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices
, University Of Chicago Press, 1990 ISBN 0-226-30455-8
- "The Demand for and Supply of Inflation." Journal of Law and Economics 18 (Dec. 1975): 807-836
- "Recent Developments in the Theory of Inflation and Unemployment." Journal of Monetary Economics 2 (April 1976): 195-219
- Milton Friedman's Monetary Framework: A Debate With His Critics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977
- Northwestern home page
- Robert J. Gordon's economics papers