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Susan Athey wins Clark Medal

The John Bates Clark Medal is given every two years to the American economist under the age of 40 who is deemed most influential. Congratulations to Susan Athey, a Harvard professor, who won the award today! She is the first woman to win the award.

I got to know Susan and her husband Guido Imbens very well four years ago when I spent the year at Stanford, where she taught at the time. She was a pillar of that department and when she and Guido left for Harvard, it was a real loss for Stanford (and for Berkeley, where Guido taught).

Susan has been a favorite to win this prize since she left graduate school. When she was looking for her first job as a freshly minted Ph.D., the New York Times profiled her as the superstar of her cohort. Looks like they got it right.

While the committee is quite tight-lipped about others in the running, my hunch is that my colleague and co-author John List was likely the runner-up. Others who I imagine might have been on the short list: Marianne Bertrand, Esther Duflo, Austan Goolsbee, Sendhil Mullainathan, Ilya Segal, and Rob Shimer. University of Chicago economists are over-represented on my list partly because we have many of the top young economists, but also because I know how old the economists here are with much more precision than at other schools. So apologies to those whose names I should have included on this list, but didn’t.