Michael Spence

Senior Fellow
Awards and Honors:
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Econometric Society (elected fellow)
Biography: 

Michael Spence is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, a professor of economics at the Stern School at New York University, and the Philip H. Knight Professor Emeritus of Management in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.

Spence’s latest publication is The Next Convergence: The Future of Economic Growth in a Multispeed World (2011).

He served as the chairman of the independent Commission on Growth and Development (2006–10).

He was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001 and the John Bates Clark Medal from the American Economic Association in 1981. He was awarded the David A. Wells Prize for the outstanding doctoral dissertation at Harvard University and the John Kenneth Galbraith Prize for excellence in teaching.

He served as the Philip H. Knight Professor and dean of the Stanford Business School (1990–99). As dean, he oversaw the finances, organization, and educational policies of the school. He taught at Stanford as an associate professor of economics from 1973 to 1975.

He served as a professor of economics and business administration at Harvard University (1975–90). In 1983, he was named chairman of the Economics Department and the George Gund Professor of Economics and Business Administration. Spence also served as the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard (1984–90), overseeing Harvard College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the Division of Continuing Education.

From 1977 to 1979, he was a member of the Economics Advisory Panel of the National Science Foundation and in 1979 served as a member of the Sloan Foundation Economics Advisory Committee. He has served as a member of the editorial boards of the American Economics Review, Bell Journal of Economics, and Journal of Economic Theory.

Spence is a member of the boards of directors for General Mills and a number of private companies. He was chairman of the National Research Council Board on Science, Technology and Economic Policy (1991–97).

He is a member of the American Economic Association and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society.

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Recent Commentary

Featured

Europe Or Anti-Europe?

by Michael Spencevia Project Syndicate
Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A knowledgeable friend in Milan recently asked me the following question: “If an outside investor, say, from the United States, wanted to invest a substantial sum in the Italian economy, what would you advise?” I replied that, although there are many opportunities to invest in companies and sectors, the overall investment environment is complicated. I would recommend investing alongside a knowledgeable domestic partner, who can navigate the system, and spot partly hidden risks.

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Globalism and Its Discontents

by Michael Spencevia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 27, 2017

Pushing aside multilateral trade—with all its promise—for multiple variations of “America first.” Is this what the world needs now? 

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Four Certainties About Populist Economics

by Michael Spencevia Project Syndicate
Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Successful economic globalization requires reasonably successful growth patterns in individual countries. That dynamic characterized the 30 years or so after World War II: growth rates were relatively high across a wide range of countries; their benefits were broadly shared within countries; and the rise of developing countries reduced global inequality. 

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A Growth Agenda For China

by Michael Spence, Qian Wanvia Project Syndicate
Monday, December 26, 2016

At a time when the United States is poised to turn inward, China’s economic performance is more important globally than ever. Whether China can achieve sustainable growth patterns in the coming years will depend upon a number of key factors.

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Donald Trump And The New Economic Order

by Michael Spencevia Project Syndicate
Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Since the end of World War II, the hierarchy of economic priorities has been relatively clear. At the top was creating an open, innovative, and dynamic market-driven global economy, in which all countries can (in principal) thrive and grow. Coming in second – one might even say a distant second – was generating vigorous, sustainable, and inclusive national growth patterns. No more.

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How Inequality Found A Political Voice

by Michael Spencevia Project Syndicate
Friday, October 28, 2016

It took a long time for widening inequality to have an impact on politics, as it suddenly has done in recent years. Now that it is a central issue, national economic priorities will need to shift substantially to create more equitable, inclusive economies and societies.

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Escaping The New Normal Of Weak Growth

by Michael Spencevia Project Syndicate
Friday, September 30, 2016

There is no question that the recovery from the global recession triggered by the 2008 financial crisis has been unusually lengthy and anemic. Some still expect an upswing in growth. But, eight years after the crisis erupted, what the global economy is experiencing is starting to look less like a slow recovery than like a new low-growth equilibrium. 

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How To Fight Secular Stagnation

by Michael Spencevia Project Syndicate
Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Much of the world, especially the advanced economies, has been mired in a pattern of slow and declining GDP growth in recent years, causing many to wonder whether this is becoming a semi-permanent condition – so-called “secular stagnation.” 

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Growth In A Time Of Disruption

by Michael Spencevia Project Syndicate
Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Developing countries are facing major obstacles – many of which they have little to no control over – to achieving sustained high growth. 

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Brexit In Context

by Michael Spencevia Project Syndicate
Monday, June 20, 2016

I do not believe that foreigners contribute usefully by issuing strong opinions about how a country’s citizens, or those of a larger unit like the European Union, should decide when faced with an important political choice. Our insights, based on international experience, may sometimes be helpful; but there should never be any confusion about the asymmetry of roles.

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