Acemoglu Wins Clark Prize

Lynne Kiesling

MIT economist Daron Acemoglu has won this year’s John Bates Clark award for the best economist under 40. Acemoglu’s research is fascinating and well-done. As the Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) notes:

In a written statement, the [American Economic] association praised Mr. Acemoglu, 37, as a “broad and productive economist” who has made “valuable contributions” in the fields of labor economics, macroeconomics, institutional economics, and political economy. “Especially innovative,” the statement says, is his recent work on the role of institutions in development and in political economy.

Mr. Acemoglu was one of the authors of a paper, “Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution,” that appeared in the Quarterly Journal of Economics in 2002. The authors argue that among countries colonized by European powers, those that were relatively rich in 1500 are now relatively poor because of colonial policies — an argument against the notion that geography is destiny.