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MIT SHASS economist James Poterba awarded the Holland Medal

Medal honors outstanding contributions to public finance.
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James Poterba, the Mitsui Professor of Economics at MIT
James Poterba, the Mitsui Professor of Economics at MIT
Photo: MIT Department of Economics

MIT Economics Professor James M. Poterba has been chosen to receive the Daniel M. Holland Medal from the National Tax Association in honor of his outstanding contributions to the study and practice of public finance.

The medal will be presented Nov. 14 at the association’s 107th Annual Conference on Taxation, which will take place in Santa Fe, N.M.

The Mitsui Professor of Economics, Poterba is the first MIT faculty member to receive the Holland Medal, which was established in 1993 to honor Holland, a nearly 30-year MIT Sloan faculty member who was an expert on taxation and public finance. Holland served as president of National Tax Association in 1989 and edited the National Tax Journal from 1966 until his death in 1991. 

"This award is especially meaningful because Dan Holland was my colleague and friend,” Poterba said. “He and I shared an interest in taxation and corporate finance, and with offices just one floor apart in E52, we had many opportunities to discuss current research. Dan was a wonderful role model, and I am deeply honored to receive this award which celebrates his memory."

Poterba, who joined the MIT faculty in 1983, teaches a graduate course on the economics of taxation. His recent work has emphasized the effect of taxation on the financial behavior of households, particularly their saving and portfolio decisions. He has been especially interested in analysing the impact of 401(k) plans and IRAs on the level and adequacy of retirement saving.

From 2006-2008, Poterba served as head of the MIT Department of Economics, and in 2009 was president of the National Tax Association, a nonpartisan, nonpolitical educational organization dedicated to fostering the study and discussion of complex and controversial issues in tax theory, practice, and policy, as well as other aspects of public finance. Nine of Poterba's PhD students have won the National Tax Association's award for the outstanding doctoral dissertation in government finance and taxation.

Since 2008, Poterba has also served as president of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a non-profit research organization with more than 1,300 affiliated economists.  


Story prepared by MIT SHASS Communications
Editorial and Design Director: Emily Hiestand
Senior Writer: Kathryn O'Neill


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