Levin, a professor of economics at Stanford University, conducts research on industrial organization as well as the structure of markets. His work has looked at the nature of contractual relationships in business; the effects of imperfect information in the subprime lending and insurance markets; and the implications of auction-based markets for business competition, among other topics. He wrote his PhD thesis under the supervision of Bengt Holmstrom, the Paul A. Samuelson Professor of Economics at MIT.
"This is fantastic news,” said Holmstrom in an e-mail to MIT News. “Once again, one of our students has received the highest recognition short of a Nobel Prize. John's great gift is in being able to see the essential in economic problems and work on them both theoretically and empirically. His contributions to game theory, especially auction theory and market design, have been academically influential and of great practical use."
Levin is the third straight winner of the Clark Medal to have earned a PhD from MIT in 1999, following last year’s winner, MIT professor Esther Duflo, and the 2009 winner, Emmanuel Saez.
MIT faculty, alumni and former faculty have won the last eight Clark Medals, including former MIT professor Susan Athey in 2007; MIT professor Daron Acemoglu in 2005; Steven Levitt PhD ’94 in 2003; Matthew Rabin PhD ’89 in 2001; and Andrei Shleifer PhD ’86 in 1999. The award was given in odd-numbered years from its inception in 1947 until last year, when the AEA began to bestow it annually.
Other past winners who were either MIT faculty or received degrees from MIT include Paul Samuelson, Lawrence Klein, Robert Solow, Franklin Fisher, Daniel McFadden, Joseph Stiglitz, Jerry Hausman, Paul Krugman and Lawrence Summers.