One of the bigger long-running scandals in the economics scientific credit game has been the downgrading of the role of the late Lionel W. McKenzie in proving the existence of a competitive general equilibrium, generally credited to Arrow and Debreu. Roy Weintraub, who has championed McKenzie's cause for over 30 years, has a new book out with Till Duppe from Princeton University Press, _Finding Equilibrium: Arrow, Debreu, McKenzie and the Problem of Scientific Credit_, which reveals fresh details about the matter. David Warsh at economics principals has written an interesting summary with solid background, with Mark Thoma also linking to Warsh's excellent account (sorry I am failing to get the direct link to Warsh's account working, titled "The Startling Story behind a Famous Footnote").
The big new news from this book is about the role of Debreu in delaying the publication of McKenzie's paper and also suppressing knowledge of it, particularly to his coauthor, Kenneth Arrow (who, arguably, should have found out about the paper on his own). McKenzie's paper was finished first and even though Debreu as referee for it at Econometrica delayed it, it actually came out one issue ahead of the slightly more general paper by Arrow and Debreu. McKenzie cited their paper, but theirs did not cite his, which had been presented a day before theirs at a 1952 Econometric Society conference, with Debreu attending McKenzie's talk, which Arrow did not do, and Debreu not tellling Arrow about it. Of these parties, only Arrow remains alive. BTW, while it may be less general, McKenzie's proof is quite a bit simpler and has shown up in some textbooks over the years.
Weintraub also reports that McKenzie long ago accepted that he was going to get less credit and be forgotten largely, taking a philosophical attitude and noting all the famous and deserving people who never got the Nobel Prize in their fields. More power to him on that, although one must feel sorry about the whole thing, with Weintraub attributing this to a "Matthew Effect" of who is already rich gets richer and who is poor gets poorer. Weintraub continues to campaign that general equilibrium should be called "Arrow-Debreu-McKenzie" (or ADM), but with only a few people following his advice on this, even though properly it should be called "McKenzie-Arrow-Debreu." This is definitely a case of somebody getting the shaft big time, although it is not the only such case out there, but then this is one of the most influential ideas in all of economics, so a pretty big deal.
I shall add an arguably irrelevant but ironic anecdote from personal experience about McKenzie and the economics Nobel. It dates to my first attendance at an AEA meeting in Dec. 1973 in New York. I remember that I was in an elevator in the Hilton and was randomly in there with Lionel McKenzie (I saw his name badge) and somebody else I did not recognize the name of. I knew of McKenzie and even at that time about how he had gotten screwed over on this matter. He and his companion were discussing the economics Nobel (please, no comments on how it is really the Swedish Bank Prize, I know, I know), and I note that this was just four years after the prize had been established. Most of the "big trees in the forest" had not yet gotten it, although Arrow had, shared inappropriately with Hicks, so the fix was already in regarding what would happen to McKenzie (Debreu got it later by himself).
So, McKenzie argued to his friend that the next recipient would be Joan Robinson, and that the committee would give it to her for her 1933 book, _The Economics of Imperfect Competition_, which would certainly have been a justifiable award. He then rather sarcastically commented that he expected her to reject the award for not being for her later work, leading to the two of them laughing quite a bit, although as far as I was concerned she also deserved it for her later work as well. That was it as they then left the elevator. Of course, neither Robinson nor McKenzie ever got the award, but I have always heard that she did not get it partly because of her politics and partly because of their fear that she would engage in some combative misbehavior from their perspective.