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

Analysis and Commentary

The Global Economy In Transition

by Michael Spencevia Project Syndicate
Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Questions about economic growth, inflation, innovation, and the impact of the Ukraine war on the transition to green energy dominate discussions about the global economy's condition and prospects. The picture that plausible answers paint is not bleak, but it's not rosy, either.

In the News

Beware A Global Economy With Little Fires Everywhere

quoting Michael Spencevia Gulf Times
Monday, May 16, 2022

Rich countries have shown impressive unity in helping Ukraine counter the Russian invasion. They now need to demonstrate the same level of resolve to prevent the global economic fallout from the conflict from destroying the lives or livelihoods of many of the world’s most vulnerable people.

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A Tectonic Shift

by Michael Spencevia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, May 4, 2022

A global economic upheaval has begun. The transition to supply-constrained growth will produce profound changes in prices, supply chains, and entire economies.


Good US-China Strategic Competition

by Michael Spencevia Project Syndicate
Monday, May 2, 2022

If the US and China fight a zero-sum battle for long-term technological dominance, they will both fail, impeding technological progress and economic growth everywhere. They are far better off striving to reach or remain at the frontier of innovation, without preventing others from challenging them.


Michael Spence: Starting And Stopping

interview with Michael Spencevia ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Friday, April 22, 2022

(1:45) Hoover Institution fellow Michael Spence discusses the innovation of the Silicon Valley and how entrepreneurs/startups are growing in other states as well as around the world.


Michael Spence: We Are Entering A New Economic World

interview with Michael Spencevia Economics & Beyond with Rob Johnson
Thursday, March 31, 2022

Hoover Institution fellow Michael Spence discusses the profound changes that are rippling through the global economy as we emerge from the COVID recession. Spence talks about how economic growth will have to rely on productivity gains instead of excess labor capacity and what this means for countries around the world.


Startup Culture Goes Global

by Michael Spencevia Project Syndicate
Monday, March 28, 2022

The digital domain has provided fertile ground for innovation around the world, enabling the rise of fast-growing firms from Helsinki to Abuja. But even as the internet has greatly reduced geographical limitations to doing business, highly interactive local networks continue to form the core of entrepreneurial ecosystems.


Surveillance: China Policy With Michael Spence

interview with Michael Spencevia Bloomberg
Friday, March 25, 2022

Hoover Institution fellow Michael Spence expects China to move carefully with regards to Russia in order to avoid economic isolation.


Nobel Laureate Michael Spence Says Pandemic Trends Are Permanent

interview with Michael Spencevia Bloomberg
Friday, March 25, 2022

Hoover Institution fellow Michael Spence discusses the impact of the global pandemic on US economic trends, global risks, and China's foreign policy strategy, and Spence notes that unfortunately, many of the pandemic trends will become permanent.


Will Russia's War Spur Trade Diversification?

by Michael Spencevia Project Syndicate
Tuesday, March 1, 2022

In today's turbulent world, economic security depends on countries' ability to depend on their trading partners. This raises serious short-term challenges, particularly for the European Union, which is in the unenviable position of being heavily dependent on Russian energy imports.