An MIT Alumni Association Publication

IMF Taps Young MIT Faculty and Alumni as Global Leaders in Economics

  • Nancy DuVergne Smith
Guest blogger: Nicole Taylor, Continuum

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has populated nearly half its Generation Next list—which celebrates 25 economists under the age of 45—with MIT faculty and alumni. In some cases, the featured economists are both: Esther Duflo PhD '99, Amy Finkelstein PhD '01, and Kristin Forbes PhD '98 all hold endowed chairs in MIT's Department of Economics.

The 12 scholars listed below study diverse topics—poverty and health care, education and real estate, crime and taxes—but what they have in common is their demonstration of early leadership in global economics.

Melissa Dell PhD '12, a Harvard assistant professor, has studied how government crackdowns on drug violence can influence economic outcomes. Her most recent publication, whose coauthors include MIT's Benjamin Olken, looks at the economic effects of climate.

Esther Duflo PhD '99
Esther Duflo PhD '99

Esther Duflo PhD '99  is MIT's Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics, and a founder and director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). With Abhijit Banerjee, she is the author of Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty. She focuses on microeconomic issues in developing economies, including household behavior, education, access to finance, health, and policy evaluation.

Emmanuel Farhi PhD '06, a Harvard professor, is a macroeconomist who works on monetary economics, international economics, finance and public finance—including research on global imbalances, monetary and fiscal policy, and taxation.

Amy Finkelstein PhD '01, MIT's Ford Professor of Economics, researches the impact of public policy on health care systems, government intervention in health insurance markets, and market failures. She is quoted frequently in the media on such topics as advocating for more randomized trials in social science and why the expansion of Medicaid increases ER visits.

Kristin Forbes PhD '98 applies her research to policy questions related to international macroeconomics and finance. The Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Professor of Management and Global Economics at the MIT Sloan School of Management, she was named in May to the UK Monetary Policy Committee.

Jonathan Levin PhD '99, a professor at Stanford University, is an expert on industrial organization and microeconomic theory, specifically on the economics of contracting, organizations, and market design. His recent research has included a focus on Internet commerce.

Atif Mian PhD '96, PhD '01
Atif Mian 96, PhD '01

 Atif Mian '96, PhD '01, based at Princeton University, studies the connections between finance and the macro economy. He is coauthor (with Amir Sufi PhD ′05) of the critically acclaimed House of Debt, which builds on powerful new data to describe how debt precipitated the Great Recession and continues to threaten the global economy.

Parag Pathak, who joined MIT's faculty in 2008, is a director of the School Effectiveness & Inequality Initiative. He is the found­ing co-director of the National Bureau of Economic Research's Working Group on Market Design. Pathak has recently published work on such topics as the end of rent control in Cambridge, MA, and achievement effects at elite East Coast high schools.

Thomas Philippon PhD '03, a professor of finance at New York University, studies the interactions of finance and macroeconomics: risk premia and corporate investment, financial crisis and systemic risk, and the evolution of financial intermediation. A French native, he served in 2012–13 as senior economic advisor to the French finance minister.

Emmanuel Saez PhD '99, director of the Center for Equitable Growth at the University of California, Berkeley, is recognized for using both theoretical and empirical approaches to income inequality and tax policy. His joint work on this topic with economist Thomas Piketty has fueled public debate.

Amir Sufi PhD '05 is on the faculty of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He is coauthor with Atif Mian '96, PhD '01 of House of Debt. He studies links between finance and the macro economy, including the effect of housing prices on spending and the effect of corporate finance on investment.

Iván Werning
Iván Werning

Iván Werning is a macroeconomist on the MIT faculty who aims to improve tax and unemployment insurance policies via theoretical economic models. He studies stabilization and monetary policy, including macroprudential policy, as well as optimal taxation. In 2010 he shared, in an MIT News interview, his vision for an ideal unemployment policy.

See the full list of the IMF's 25 picks, published in this month's edition of Finance & Development. And learn more about economics at MIT.

Next Up