The appointment of Alice H. Amsden to the faculty of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning and to the Ellen Swallow Richards Professorship has been announced by Professor Phillip L. Clay, head of the department, and by Provost Mark S. Wrighton.
Dr. Amsden, an economist, is noted for her ability to combine outstanding technical analysis with institutional and political insight. Her current major area of interest is the theoretical and institutional process of "late" industrialization and the role in this process of the state, diversified business groups and professional managers.
She will hold the chair established 21 years ago to honor the first woman to graduate from MIT and to teach here. Ellen Swallow Richards received a degree from MIT in 1873 and taught here until her death many years later. She is recognized as the founder of the ecology movement.
"I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Amsden as the Ellen Swallow Richards Professor," Professor Wrighton said. "She brings an interesting and broad-based world view to the Institute."
Professor Clay said Professor Amsden will join the Developing-Areas faculty cluster in the department.
"Professor Amsden's analysis of the changing political economy in the emerging world and the relation of global economic developments to those in our own country will make a major contribution to development studies," he said. "She is one of the rare specialists who combines outstanding technical analysis with institutional and political insight. She is a real star."
Dr. Amsden will teach courses on economic development theories and applications and on industrial development. Her industrial development course will examine the theoretical and historical reasons behind differences in the degree of state promotion of industry in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Industrial development policy in developing countries-the "late industrializers"-will be analyzed from the perspective of the strategies of different countries toward economic transformation in an attempt to understand problems of implementation. The question of why industrial development policies have been more successful in some countries than in others will also be covered.
Dr. Amsden has written extensively on problems of industrial transformation in East Africa, East Asia and East Europe. Her most recent book, The Market Meets its Match: Restructuring the Economies of Eastern Europe, is co-authored with Jacek Kochanowicz and Lance Taylor and will be published this fall by Harvard University Press. Her previous book, Asia's Next Giant: South Korea and Late Industrialization (Oxford 1989), received best-book-in-political-economy honors for 1992 from the American Political Science Association.
Dr. Amsden received the BS at Cornell University and the masters and PhD degrees at the London School of Economics. Since 1989 she has been the Leo Model Professor of Economics and professor of political science on the graduate faculty of the New School for Social Research. She is leaving that post to come to MIT. In addition, since 1988 she has been a research associate at MIT's Center for International Studies.
From 1971-73 she was an economist with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. She was a lecturer at the University of California, Los Angles, 1974-77; assistant professor at Barnard College, 1977-83; and lecturer in production and operations management at the Harvard Business School, 1983-88.
A version of this article appeared in the May 25, 1994 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 38, Number 34).