Michael Spence

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

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


Michael Spence On Bloomberg Best: Covid Cures, Miami And Elon Musk

interview with Michael Spencevia Bloomberg Best
Friday, March 26, 2021

(7:50) Hoover Institution fellow Michael Spence discusses inflation and the economy.

Analysis and Commentary

Avoiding A K-Shaped Global Recovery

by Michael Spence, Joseph E. Stiglitz, Jayati Ghoshvia Project Syndicate
Wednesday, March 24, 2021

While the United States and other advanced economies rush to vaccinate their populations and gear up for post-pandemic booms, developing countries and emerging economies continue to struggle. Fortunately, rich countries could help everyone else – and themselves – at little to no cost.

Analysis and Commentary

The Shape Of Global Recovery

by Michael Spencevia Project Syndicate
Wednesday, March 17, 2021

The accelerating rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in many advanced economies has set the stage for rapid recovery in the second half of this year and into 2022. Although growth in digital and digitally enabled sectors will level out somewhat, high-employment service industries will ride a wave of pent-up demand.


Winners And Losers In The Digital Transformation Of Work

by Michael Spencevia Project Syndicate
Thursday, February 25, 2021

Advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning have again raised fears of large-scale job losses. And while labor-market adaptation is likely to stave off permanent high unemployment, it cannot be counted on to prevent a sharp rise in inequality.


Nobel Laureate Michael Spence: Market Has Mania, Valuation Problems

interview with Michael Spencevia Bloomberg
Monday, February 1, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Michael Spence examines the current market frenzy and the need for across-the-board regulation of the use of digital technology in finance.

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Biden’s Vaccine Challenge

by Michael Spencevia Project Syndicate
Monday, January 25, 2021

In confronting the COVID-19 crisis, US President Joe Biden will avoid many of his predecessor’s mistakes, not least by heeding the advice of scientific experts. But, unless Biden also enlists adequate management, operations, and logistics expertise, even his best-laid plans may go awry.

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The Pandemic Public-Debt Dilemma

by Michael Spence, Danny Leipzigervia Project Syndicate
Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Much of the conventional wisdom about how governments should manage the COVID-19 economic fallout is perfectly appropriate for advanced economies, but dangerous elsewhere. Even if developing and emerging economies could simply borrow and spend more to weather the storm, doing so could jeopardize their long-term economic prospects.


The State Of America’s Disunion

by Michael Spence, David Bradyvia Project Syndicate
Monday, November 23, 2020

The 2020 US presidential election followed a pattern very similar to the contest in 2016, with narrow margins in a few key counties determining the outcome in battleground states. And the record-breaking turnout on both sides was a sign not of a healthy democracy but of an anxious one.


Nobel Laureate Michael Spence: Controlling Virus May Cause Economic Dip

interview with Michael Spencevia Bloomberg
Monday, November 23, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Michael Spence discusses the “lingering” economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and his expectations for President-elect Joe Biden’s handling of foreign and domestic affairs.


Who Will Win The US Presidential Election?

by Michael Spence, David Bradyvia Project Syndicate
Saturday, October 31, 2020

If the latest polls are any indication, Joe Biden is on track to win the popular vote in the upcoming US presidential election by a substantial margin, and an Electoral College reversal of that outcome, like in 2016, is unlikely. But the polls have been wrong before, including in 2016.