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

The End Of Shareholder Primacy?

by Michael Spencevia Project Syndicate
Monday, August 26, 2019

The recent decision by America's Business Roundtable to abandon its support for shareholder primacy was a long time coming, and reflects a broader shift toward socially conscious investment. Now that the multi-stakeholder model is receiving the attention it deserves, it will be incumbent on governments to create space for it to succeed.

In the News

What Is Inequality?

quoting Michael Spencevia Project Syndicate
Thursday, August 15, 2019

Though debates about inequality have been building for years, distinctions between after- and before-tax income, wealth, opportunities, outcomes, and other metrics suggest that the issue is more complex than it seems. The question, then, is whether policymakers can make sense of a concern that means different things to different people.

Featured

The Inequality Of Nations

by Michael Spencevia Project Syndicate
Thursday, August 1, 2019

Markets are mechanisms of social choice, in which dollars effectively equal votes; those with more purchasing power thus have more influence over market outcomes. Governments are also social choice mechanisms, but voting power is – or is supposed to be – distributed equally, regardless of wealth.

Featured

The “Digital Revolution” Of Wellbeing

by Michael Spencevia Project Syndicate
Friday, June 28, 2019

The rise of digital platforms, cutting-edge forms of automation, and Big Data promises to transform labor markets and upend longstanding business models. It will also broaden our thinking about human wellbeing, much of which hinges on social and experiential factors that have little to do with standard measures of material welfare.

Interviews

Michael Spence: Can Economics Help The Fight Against Climate Change?

interview with Michael Spencevia Monocle
Sunday, June 9, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Michael Spence discusses how economics can help fight climate change.

Featured

Beyond Unemployment

by Michael Spencevia Project Syndicate
Tuesday, May 28, 2019

In modern economies, people may have jobs, but they still harbor major concerns in a wide range of areas, including security, health and work-life balance, income and distribution, training, mobility, and opportunity. By focusing solely on the unemployment rate, policymakers are ignoring the many dimensions of employment that affect welfare.

Interviews

Canada 'Not Invulnerable To Slowdowns,' Nobel-Winning Economist Michael Spence Says

interview with Michael Spencevia BNN Bloomberg
Monday, May 27, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Michael Spence discusses global trade tensions and notes they continue to pose risks for the Canadian economy.

Interviews

Michael Spence: Auto Tariff Delay 'Good News' For China Trade Talks

interview with Michael Spencevia Yahoo Finance
Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Michael Spence discusses how the US delaying tariffs on auto imports plays into trade negotiations with China.

Featured

The World’s Next Big Growth Challenge

by Michael Spencevia Project Syndicate
Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The economic performance of lower-income developing countries will be crucial to reducing poverty further. Although these economies face significant headwinds, they could also seize important new growth opportunities – especially with the help of digital platforms.

In the News

Manufacturing Returns To Growth

quoting Michael Spencevia The Telegraph
Monday, April 8, 2019

Amid higher market confidence, the barometer purchasing managers index for China has shown recovery for a second consecutive month.

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