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Gerard Debreu Edit Profile


Gerard Debreu, French economics and mathematics educator. Achievements include incorporating new analytical methods into economic theory; rigorous reformulation of the theory of general equilibrium.


Debreu, Gerard was born on July 4, 1921 in Calais, France. Arrived in the United States, 1950, naturalized, 1975. Son of Camille and Fernande Decharne Debreu.


Student, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, 1941—1944. Student, Agrégé de l'Université, France, 1946. Doctor of Science, University Paris, 1956.

Dr Rerum Politicarum honoris causa, University Bonn, 1977. Doctor Sciences Economiques (honorary), University Lausanne, 1980. Doctor of Science (honorary), Northwestern University, 1981.

Dr honoris causa (honorary), University des Sciences Sociales de Toulouse, 1983. Dr honoris causa (honorary), Yale University, 1987. Dr honoris causa (honorary), University Bordeaux I, 1988.


Research associate Centre National De La Recherche Science, Paris, 1946—1948. Rockefeller fellow, 1948—1950, Sweden, 1948—1950, Norway, 1948—1950. Research associate Cowles Commission, University Chicago, 1950—1955.

Associate professor economics Cowles Foundation, Yale, 1955—1961. Fellow Center Advanced Study Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, 1960—1961. Visiting professor economics Yale University, 1961.

Professor University California, Berkeley, 1962—1984, professor Miller Institute Basic Research in Science, 1973—1974, professor mathematics, 1975—1984, professor emeritus, 1985—2004. Guggenheim fellow, visiting professor Center Operations Research and Econometrics, University Louvain, 1968—1969, visiting professor, 1971, 72, 88. Erskine fellow University Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, 1969, Christchurch, 87, visiting professor, New Zealand, 73.

Overseas fellow Churchill College, Cambridge, England, 1972. Plenary address International Congress Mathematicians, Vancouver, 1974. Visiting professor Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, 1976, University Bonn, 1977.

Research associate Cepremap, Paris, 1980. Faculty research lecturer University California, Berkeley, 1984—1985, Class of 1958 chair, 1986—2004. Visiting professor University Sydney, Australia, 1987.

Lecturer in field; With French Army, 1944-1945.


  • Rockefeller Foundation Fellow, 1948-1950. Fellow, Center Advanced Study Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, 1960-1961. Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, 1968-1969.

    Erskine Fellow, 1969. President, Econometric Society., 1971. Overseas Fellow, 1972.

    Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, 1976. Senior United States Scientists Award, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, University Bonn, 1977. Member, National Academy of Sciences, USA, 1977.

    Distinguished Fellow, American Economic Association, 1982. Nobel Prize in Economics, 1983. Commandeur de l’Ordre National du Mérite, 1984.



Measurement of underutilisation of resources. Characterisation of Pareto optima. Existence theorems for social equilibrium and for economic equilibrium.

Theory of contingent commodities. Representation theorems for prefer

ences by means of (continuous, additively decomposed, differentiable, or at least concave) utility functions. Theorems on the convergence of the core for a sequence of large economies.

Topologies on the set of preferences. Characterisation of the excess demand function of an economy.


Fellow: American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Economic Association (distinguished fellow 1982, president-elect 1989, president 1990), Econometric Society (member council 1964-1972, Fisher-Schultz lecturer 1969, executive committee 1969-1972, president 1971, member council 1978-1985, executive committee 1980-1982). Member: National Academy of Sciences (chairman section economic science 1982-1985, committee human rights 1984-1990, chair class V behavioral and social science 1989-1992, member Council of National Academy of Sciences of United States of America 1993—2004), Berkeley Fellows, French Academy of Sciences (foreign associate), American Philosophical Society.


Married Françoise Bled, June 14, 1945 (divorced ). Children: Chantal, Florence.

Camille Debreu

Fernande Decharne Debreu

Françoise Bled

Chantal Debreu

Florence Debreu