Harvard’s Andrews Wins Clark Medal for Statistical Modeling Work
Harvard University’s Isaiah Andrews, who has studied methods of improving economic models and statistics, won the John Bates Clark award for contributions from a young economist, a rare recognition for a Black professional in a field that has been marked by a lack of diversity.
The economist’s works “have improved the quality, credibility, and communication of quantitative research in economics,” the Nashville, Tennessee-based American Economic Association said on its website. “He is playing a key role in the recent turn of econometrics back toward the study of the most important problems faced in empirical research.”
One of his research papers on modeling has become “a standard part of the toolkit of applied researchers” and the papers “hold the promise of fundamentally changing the way economists assess and communicate their results.”
Andrews, 34, received his doctorate in economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a faculty member at MIT from 2016 to 2018.
“Economics has long-standing problems around diversity on a number of dimensions, though I think there’s currently more energy in the profession to try and improve the situation than there’s been at some points in the past,” Andrews said in an interview.
“I certainly hope that this spotlight might help encourage more Black students to see a career in economics as a viable and potentially rewarding path.”
The AEA has been working to improve its diversity and in June said only 3% of the profession identifies as Black, and many of these professionals have faced discrimination in their careers.
Started in 1947 as a biennial prize, the John Bates Clark award is now being given annually to an economist under the age of 40 working in the U.S. who is judged to have made “the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge,” according to the association.
Past winners of the accolade include the late Nobel laureate Milton Friedman; New York Times columnist and City University of New York professor Paul Krugman; and Lawrence Summers, a former Treasury secretary and ex-director of President Barack Obama’s National Economic Council. Data compiled by Bloomberg show that recipients of the medal have almost a one-in-three chance of eventually winning the Nobel Prize in economics.
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