Kenneth Arrow just passed away at age 95. He founded modern health economics, social choice theory, and so much beside. His doctoral dissertation proved the famous Arrow Impossibility theorem. His career didn’t let up until virtually his dying day.
I won’t try to summarize Arrow’s Nobel-Prize-winning career. Fortunately, the Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law published a 2001 special issue that considered his contributions to health policy. It is a just great, great read by some of the best in the business–Mark Peterson, Uwe Reinhardt, Mark Pauly, Mike Chernew, Frank Sloan, and many others–with a terrific response these essays by Arrow himself. Check it out. It is a lovely read.
Professor Arrow was an active participant in Stanford seminars well into his tenth decade. He combined the highest mathematical virtuosity with a passion for social justice and a real curiosity about societies and institutions. I never had too many dealings with him. We did occasionally cross paths on political matters related to health reform. I found this 2016 email especially charming given the source. The man contributed more after age 80 than I’m likely to do over my entire career.