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

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. 

Featured

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.

Featured

Reigniting Emerging-Economy Growth

by Michael Spencevia Project Syndicate
Monday, May 30, 2016

It is no secret that emerging economies are facing serious challenges, which have undermined their once-explosive growth and weakened their development prospects. Whether they return to the path of convergence with the advanced economies will largely depend on how they approach an increasingly complex economic environment.

Featured

Managing Debt In An Overleveraged World

by Michael Spencevia Project Syndicate
Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What ever happened to deleveraging? In the years since the 2008 global financial crisis, austerity and balance-sheet repair have been the watchwords of the global economy. And yet today, more than ever, debt is fueling concern about growth prospects worldwide.

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Share and Share Alike

by Michael Spencevia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 18, 2016

The sharing economy isn’t just about convenience. It’s a revolution in the use of labor and assets.

Featured

Economics In A Time Of Political Instability

by Michael Spence, David Bradyvia Project Syndicate
Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Over the last 35 years, Western democracies have seen a rapid rise in political instability, characterized by frequent shifts in governing parties and their programs and philosophies, driven at least partly by economic transformation and hardship.

Featured

China’s Volatile Growth

by Michael Spence, Fred Huvia Project Syndicate
Sunday, February 28, 2016

Uncertainty about China’s economic prospects is roiling global markets – not least because so many questions are so difficult to answer. In fact, China’s trajectory has become almost impossible to anticipate, owing to the confusing – if not conflicting – signals being sent by policymakers.

Featured

In Search Of Growth Strategies

by Michael Spencevia Project Syndicate
Thursday, January 28, 2016

In 2008, the Commission on Growth and Development, which I had the privilege of chairing, produced a report updating our knowledge about sustainable growth patterns. Then, as now, one thing is clear: the policies that underpin multi-decade periods of high growth, structural transformation, rising employment and incomes, and dramatic reductions in poverty are mutually reinforcing.

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Where’s the Productivity?

by Michael Spencevia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Despite predictions, there’s little sign that automation is making economies more productive. How come?

Analysis and Commentary

The Fed’s Risk To Emerging Economies

by Michael Spencevia Project Syndicate
Monday, December 21, 2015
The US Federal Reserve has finally, after almost a decade of steadfast adherence to very low interest rates, hiked its federal funds rate – the rate from which all other interest rates in the economy take their cue – by 25 basis points.

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