Former Fed Chairman and Development Economist Named Winners of 2011 Neustadt and Schelling Awards

Contact: Doug Gavel
Phone: (617) 495-1115
Date: March 23, 2011

CAMBRIDGE, MA – One of the nation’s most eminent economists and a dynamic young development economist are recipients of the 2011 Richard E. Neustadt and Thomas C. Schelling Awards. The awards will be presented May 5 during a dinner at the Charles Hotel hosted by DeanDavid T. Ellwood of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Paul Volcker KSG 1951, who served as chair of the Federal Reserve Bank from 1979-87 and more recently as chair of President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, will receive the Richard E. Neustadt Award. The award is bestowed annually to an individual who has created powerful solutions to public problems, drawing on research and intellectual ideas as appropriate. Past recipients include Dr. Judith Gueron (2005), Dr. Muhammad Yunus (2006), Justice Richard J. Goldstone (2007), Gro Harlem Brundtland (2008), and Alice M. Rivlin (2009).

Esther Duflo, the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at MIT, will be presented with the Thomas C. Schelling Award, bestowed annually to an individual whose remarkable intellectual work has had a transformative impact on public policy. Past recipients include Judge Richard Posner (2005), Dr. Daniel Kahneman (2006), Professor Jagdish Bhagwati (2007), Professor Howard Raiffa (2008), and Harold Varmus (2009).

Each recipient will be awarded a $25,000 prize.

Funding for the awards has been provided by theDavid Rubenstein Fund for Kennedy School Excellence. The fund was established in 2004 by a generous $10 million gift from David M. Rubenstein, co-founder and managing director of the Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms.

“The Schelling and Neustadt awards are given in the names of two people who were instrumental in the creation of the modern Kennedy School,” said David T. Ellwood, dean of the school. “It is in their spirit that we recognize this year’s remarkable recipients, both of whom have dedicated their professional careers to the pursuit of knowledge and serving the public good. We are proud to honor their extraordinary contributions to our nation and our world.”

Paul Volckeris recognized for his longtime career of service in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. He was first appointed to the Federal Reserve Bank in 1952, and was appointed chair by President Carter in 1979. He was reappointed by President Reagan in 1983. Volcker is credited with ending the stagflation crisis of the late 1970s at a time when high unemployment and high inflation combined to create a sustained drag on the nation’s economy. After leaving the Federal Reserve in 1987, he became chair of a prominent New York investment firm. Volcker later served as chair of President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. He has also served as undersecretary of the U.S. Treasury for international monetary affairs (1969-74) and currently serves as honorary co-chair of the World Justice Project.

Esther Duflois recognized for her groundbreaking research development economics. She joined the MIT faculty in 1999 and was named associate professor in 2002 as one of the youngest tenured faculty members in the history of the institution. She is founder and director of the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), a research network specializing in randomized evaluations of social programs, which won the BBVA Foundation “Frontier of Knowledge” award in the development cooperation category. Duflo has received numerous academic honors and prizes including the John Bates Clark Medal (2010), a MacArthur Fellowship (2009), and the American Economic Association's Elaine Bennett Prize for Research (2003).

The 2011 Neustadt and Schelling Awards Selection Committee is comprised of:

  • Vartan Gregorian(chairman), president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. He served as president of Brown University from 1989-97; was a founding dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania and ultimately its provost; and served as president of the New York Public Library.
  • R. Glenn Hubbard, Russell L. Carson professor of finance and economics and dean of the Columbia University Business School; former chair of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisors.
  • Donna Shalala, professor of political science and president of the University of Miami; former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.
  • Shirley Williams, member of Parliament in the British House of Lords; former public service professor of elective politics at the Kennedy School of Government.

Richard Neustadt, Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, was an eminent presidential scholar and advisor to three U.S. presidents who served as founding director of the Institute of Politics from 1965-71. He served as associate dean of the Kennedy School until 1975. He died in November 2003.

Thomas Schelling, Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Political Economy, Emeritus, is internationally renowned for his work on game theory, specifically in regards to the dangers of nuclear war. He received the 2005 Nobel Prize for Economics. Schelling has held various positions in the White House and the Executive Office of the President, and is now Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy.

The invitation-only awards ceremony will be held May 5 at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge. Journalists are invited to cover the event. Please phone the Harvard Kennedy School Communications Office at (617) 495-1115 to secure arrangements.

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