Professor Daron Acemoglu of the Department of Economics has received the prestigious John Bates Clark Medal, awarded every two years to an American economist under the age of 40 for making a significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge.
The Clark Medal, eminent in its own right, has proven a predictor of future Nobel laureates: Of the 29 Clark medalists, 11 have gone on to win the Nobel.
The American Economic Association, which presents the medal, cited Acemoglu for his "valuable contributions to several distinct fields, starting with labor economics and successively moving to macroeconomics, institutional economics and political economy."
Acemoglu, 37, has most recently focused on the role of political institutions in economic development. His current work explores the links among political structure, legal and market institutions, and a nation's long-run rate of economic growth. It takes into account the differing effects of institutions established by colonial powers in North America, South America and Africa on economic development in countries in those regions.
Acemoglu received the B.A. degree from the University of York, U.K., and the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees at the London School of Economics. He came to MIT in 1993, was promoted to full professor in 2000 and was named the Charles P. Kindleberger Professor of Applied Economics in 2004.
Acemoglu is the fifth member of the present Economics Department to receive the Clark Medal. The first was Paul A. Samuelson, Institute Professor Emeritus, who received the award in 1947. Professor Samuelson and Institute Professor Robert M. Solow, who won in 1961, both received Nobel prizes. The Clark Medal was awarded to Professor Jerry A. Hausman in 1985 and to professor emeritus Franklin M. Fisher in 1973.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 27, 2005 (download PDF).