Chan School’s David Bloom receives Taeuber Award

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David Bloom, the Clarence James Gamble Professor of Economics and Demography at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, is the recipient of the 2023 Irene B. Taeuber Award. Presented every other year by the Population Association of America (PAA), the Taeuber Award recognizes “unusually original or important contributions to the scientific study of population and an accumulated record of exceptionally sound and innovative research.”

Bloom is a labor and health economist and a demographer whose current research focuses on the interplay of health, demography, and economic well-being, and on health technology assessment. He was recognized for his pioneering scientific contributions to the field of population studies, including coining the term and developing the concept of the “demographic dividend,” which highlights the importance of age structure to economic growth; demonstrating that “healthier means wealthier,” which established that health is not just a consequence — but also a cause — of economic growth; substantially deepening our understanding of the economics of population aging and the policy, behavioral, and technological changes that can mitigate its deleterious effects; and illuminating the full societal value of vaccination.

In presenting the award on April 14 at the PAA’s annual meeting in New Orleans, Chair of the Taeuber Award Committee Rachel Margolis said Bloom “has contributed a huge amount of exceptional scholarly work…that has been well used by UN agencies, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and policymakers all around the world.”

Bloom serves as director of Harvard’s Value of Vaccination Research Network, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research; a research fellow at the IZA Institute of Labor Economics; and a research associate at the Center for Economic Policy Research. He co-founded and continues to co-lead the Longitudinal Aging Study in India, the world’s largest health and retirement survey. In 2005, Bloom was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

“It’s gratifying to have my work acknowledged through such a distinguished prize,” Bloom said. “I am also delighted by the recognition the prize effectively gives to my teachers, advisers, mentors, co-authors, students, colleagues, and co-teachers who have contributed so much to my life’s research program. Above all, I am pleased for my family — especially my wife — who sparked so many good ideas and enabled and encouraged me to work on them.”