Campus & Community

Harvard professor of economics awarded the John Bates Clark Medal

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Biannual award recognizes significant contributions from an economist under 40

The American Economic Association has announced that Susan Athey, professor of economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) at Harvard University, is the 2007 recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal. Widely considered one of the most prestigious awards in the field of economics, the biannual award goes to an economist, under the age of 40, who has made a significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge. Athey is the first woman to receive the medal.

An applied economic theorist whose work also spans empirical economics and econometrics, Athey has extensively analyzed auctions, and the role of private information on timber auctions. Her recent work also includes the effects of the design of timber auctions on the types of participating bidders, revenue, and collusion, whereby members of a group of bidders conspire to avoid competition against others in the group.

“One of the most striking aspects of Professor Athey’s research is how it covers so many areas,” says James Stock, professor of economics and chair of the Department of Economics at Harvard. “She has made important contributions in economic theory, empirical economics, and econometric methods – it is hard to think of anyone else in the profession who has produced top contributions across so many fields, especially so early in her career. I should add that, in addition to this remarkable research record, she is a tremendous asset to the department.”

Athey, 36, received her B.A. in economics, mathematics, and computer science from Duke University in 1991, and her Ph.D. in 1995 from the Stanford Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. She has been a professor at Harvard since 2006, and has previously served as professor of economics at Stanford University and associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Athey is the co-editor of American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, published by the American Economic Association, and serves on the editorial boards of several other leading journals.

The American Economic Association was established in 1885, and is the oldest professional organization in the field of economics in America. The John Bates Clark medal, named after the American economist (1847-1938), was first awarded in 1947.