Nordhaus shares the $1 million Nobel prize with Paul Romer - a professor at New York University's Stern School of Business - who has won for his work demonstrating the fundamental importance of internal factors, such as technological innovation, in driving a nation's economic growth.
Meanwhile, Romer - now a professor at New York University's Stern School of Business - was credited by the academy for demonstrating how governments could boost economic growth through technological development.
The academy said their models, both developed in the 1990s, have "significantly broadened the scope of economic analysis".
This year's Nobel prize for economics has been awarded to William Nordhaus and Paul Romer for their work on climate change.
Two US academics have won the Nobel Prize for economics for their work researching financial solutions to climate change.
The physiology/medicine, physics, chemistry and peace prizes were awarded last week.
The award that concludes this year's series of Nobel prizes came about seven decades after the others.
His economic approaches to global warming include modelling to determine the efficient path for coping with climate change.
At a press conference announcing the 2018 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. laureate Paul Romer suggested that it is entirely possible for humans to produce carbon. Romer put all this together in a concrete economic model with a major implication, said Chad Jones, a former colleague of Romer's and a professor at Stanford University.
The jury said Nordhaus and Romer's findings "have brought us considerably closer to answering the question of how we can achieve sustained and sustainable global economic growth".
He said he was being honored for his work on carbon tax as a mechanism to reduce global warming. It was first awarded in 1969. This better explains why corporations, which are the primary funders of private research, often have monopolies on certain ideas like the formula for a drug or the patent for a product, and so emphasized the importance for government and universities to invest more into research to allow an increase in the number of ideas accessible to the public.
Romer resigned from the World Bank in January 2018 after raising questions about how the institution was ranking countries. While both great minds have always been expected to be recognized by the Nobel committee, the award to both at once came as a surprise to many. The average age of the laureates is 67, and only once has the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences been awarded to a woman.
Responding to news of his award, Romer said it was perfectly possible for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5 degrees centigrade, in line with the latest recommendation of the United Nations intergovernmental panel on climate change.
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