Amy Finkelstein wins the John Bates Clark award

by on April 27, 2012 at 6:55 pm in Economics, Medicine, Uncategorized | Permalink

Sorry to be late on this one, but here is the AEA take on her contributions, many of which involve health care economics and the study of health insurance.  I am not sure she was considered an obvious front-runner from the beginning, but in my view it is an excellent pick (without intending any slight to the billions who were passed over).  She is trying to understand the real world, and she is showing that policy economics should not have lower status in academia.  Obviously her major areas of study are topical today.

She does, by the way, have several previous mentions on MR and in retrospect she should have more.  Sarah Kliff adds a bit more.

Dextrology April 27, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Speaking of which, how many Bates Clark winners are male?

Mark Thorson April 27, 2012 at 9:51 pm

And how many are left-handed?

Steve Sailer April 27, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Speaking of economists studying names, here is Clark Medal winner Steven Levitt’s 2005 Slate article about black baby names and the harsh facts Levitt learned about the black mothers who saddle their children with “super-black names:”

A Roshanda by Any Other Name
How do babies with super-black names fare?
By Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

This was also a chapter in Levitt and Dubner’s Freakonomics bestseller and in their Freakonomics movie.

So, since economists can study the names of black babies without getting in trouble, have any economists studied the names of award-winning economists? Or, is that just off limits?

K April 27, 2012 at 10:20 pm


Ray Lopez April 28, 2012 at 4:59 am

Congratulations to a beautiful mind… I wonder… is she, like…attractive? That would be cool. Beautiful mind and beautiful model looks. But pace Tyler, that’s a hard combination to have for an economist!

Willitts April 28, 2012 at 12:25 pm
Dextrology April 28, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Oh well.

robert April 28, 2012 at 5:19 am

Seems like the comments are already off to a rough start…

This is kind of interesting: “MIT faculty, alumni and former faculty have won the last nine Clark Medals in a row, including current MIT faculty members Esther Duflo (2010) and Daron Acemoglu (2005). The award was given in odd-numbered years from its inception in 1947 (when MIT’s Paul Samuelson won) through 2009; starting in 2010, the AEA has granted the award annually. ”

Though I guess including “former faculty” is probably pushing it.

Steve Sailer April 28, 2012 at 6:19 am

What percentage of Clark Medal winners are of Jewish ethnicity?

That seems like a pretty interesting topic for economists to measure, right?

Willitts April 28, 2012 at 12:38 pm

There are strong social and associational pressures for Jews to go into certain fields. I was both driven and inspired to become an attorney, but I hated the work. I went into financial services which is also disproportionately Jewish. That decision was more a result of my interest in it, but of course it was a family friend who git me into the business.

Vietnamese women herd into nail salons. Chinese herd into restaurants and dry cleaners. Philipinos herd into health care. Blacks herd into government jobs. Lower middle class white males herd into construction and manufacturing. Mexican illegal immigrants herd into landscaping, kitchen work, hotel and household services. Africans and Pakistanis become cab drivers.

The agglomeration is the result of following role models, seeking similar people, doing what you know, intra-ethnic financing and support, and even taking advantage of favorable stereotypes.

It’s a very interesting topic for research.

Steve Sailer April 28, 2012 at 8:55 pm

“It’s a very interesting topic for research.”


Mark Thorson April 28, 2012 at 11:07 am

We’re not supposed to talk about that. Or the Freemasons.

Robert April 28, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Jewish success in science is so controversial and hard to research there’s even a wikipedia article about it.

Keep bravely adventuring into areas that PC people don’t dare stray, Steve.

Steve Sailer April 28, 2012 at 8:54 pm

What papers have been published in economics journals about the ethnic backgrounds of award-winning economists? I’d love to read them, just as I find found Steve Levitt’s paper on black baby names fascinating. Anybody know of any papers published in economics journals analyzing names of award-winning economists? It seems like a pretty important subject, so I’m sure it’s been fully covered in the academic literature.

londenio April 28, 2012 at 2:11 pm

As soon as I read the title, I somehow guessed that the comments would focus on the fact that the winner is a woman. It has happened also with Nobel prize winners. I am not saying that the gender or sex of a given person featured here is not an irrelevant topic for discussion.

But the mere fact that I intuitively expect that some comments would focus on the sex or ethnicity of the winner is just sad. This has been my favorite blog for many years, a blog that sets standards among blogs. And part of what makes this blog great are the comments. And yet, we see this.

And by the way, I don’t find the comments per se offensive. It is more the lost chance to read more intelligent comments.

Steve Sailer April 29, 2012 at 12:17 am

“It is more the lost chance to read more intelligent comments.”

Right. Because the Internet is printed on a very finite amount of paper, so there was just no room for all the in-depth comments about Dr. Finkelstein’s work (which even our polymathic host had almost never heard of).

I’m still waiting, by the way, for lists of all the papers in economics journals on the ethnic backgrounds of award-winning economists.

steve April 29, 2012 at 2:48 pm

As if there were enough to make statistically significant conclusions.


Steve Sailer April 29, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Actually, we do have large enough sample sizes of Nobel and Clark winners to come up with highly statistically significant findings.

I’m fascinated by your motivation to interject something obviously wrong. Please explain. Does saying something stupid in favor of politically correct obtuseness make you feel all warm inside?

Dextrology April 28, 2012 at 11:49 pm

It’s Sailer’s fault.

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