The IMF picks 25 top young economists

by on August 27, 2014 at 3:59 pm in Economics | Permalink

The list is here, I wonder how young is young, in any case overall a very good set of names.  Other than Piketty and Rey, they all teach in the United States.  John List is one person I would have added, Jesse Shapiro is another, plus I dare them to try out their judgment on someone who is not at a top ten school and then track how that person does over time.

Who else is missing?

Addendum: the original IMF link is here.

1 Anne Lavigne August 27, 2014 at 4:07 pm
2 Elis August 27, 2014 at 4:07 pm

I wonder about Jon Steinsson’s omission from the list when he co-published so many papers with Emi Nakamura.

3 andrew' August 27, 2014 at 4:07 pm

They might be recruited to a top ten school. The Bill Snyders and Jim Calhouns and others who shall remain nameless are exceptions that prove the rule.

4 rayward August 27, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Tyler Cowen.

5 Just Another MR Blogger August 27, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Charles G. Koch.

6 dearieme August 27, 2014 at 4:12 pm

“Other than Piketty and Rey, they all teach in the United States.” That’s where the money is.

7 andrew' August 27, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Higher Ed being one of the places endowment matters.

8 EconPhD August 27, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Ricardo Reis is a huge omission since his work is insightful and he studies topics that really matter for the type of challenges that the IMF faces.

9 CristianoRonaldo August 27, 2014 at 4:23 pm

In my country of Portugal, Reis writes a weekly article in the main newspaper in the country that everyone reads. I don’t know about his economic articles, but his policy commentary is excellent, always on the mark.

10 Jeff Arizona August 27, 2014 at 4:54 pm

From what I read in MR, Reis just showed that raising the inflation target, as Olivier Blanchard has been suggesting for years, will actually not help with fiscal balances at all. And his paper on the Portuguese crisis severely questions the merit of the IMFs austerity policies of the past few years. And his stuff on the automatic stabilizers shows that while the IMF has been pushing these for years as the perfect Keynesian tool, actually they are very ineffective at preventing recessions. So, you wonder why the IMF neglects Reis in his list? Just the usual IMF doing its usual shameful shutting up of anyone who disagrees with them.

11 Erh Phan August 27, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Hannes Schwandt is clearly missing…

12 andrew' August 27, 2014 at 4:20 pm

After wikying a couple names hoping to show this in action I’m struck by how often it is “PhD MIT followed by professor MIT.” The signalling is so good if they let you get to a lower tiered school in the first place they’d have to admit a goof.

13 Joshua Gans August 27, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Jessie Shapiro

14 Widmerpool August 28, 2014 at 10:34 am
15 Joshua Gans August 27, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Susan Athey

16 Susan Athey August 27, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Joshua Gans

17 Ric August 27, 2014 at 4:32 pm

The IMF is a french conspiracy.

18 whatsthat August 27, 2014 at 4:44 pm

these lists are stupid

19 andrew' August 27, 2014 at 5:42 pm

I am of course not an economist but it is interesting how many of the names I recognize and how few I could add, Wolfers and Duflo being the only people I knew were young (having seen their Ted Talks) but them already on the list. It makes me wonder if the list is mainly a function if name recognition as a subset of the academic reputation snowball effect.

20 anon August 27, 2014 at 4:56 pm

This is not a list of “top young economists” but a survey of ” surveying international economists, journalists and other readers” on who will shape the “world’s thinking on the global economy” in the coming years. A list of top young economists would surely also include at least a few econometricians, some micro theorists, etc. List’s work is not terribly concerned with trade, finance, development or other areas discussed in the IMF list (not to mention he got his PhD 18 years ago, so I don’t know if he can really be considered “young”!)

21 Pierre August 27, 2014 at 5:15 pm

Almost one third of them is French.
Pity our politicians aren’t as good.

22 The Devil's Dictionary August 27, 2014 at 7:27 pm
23 Mesa August 27, 2014 at 9:01 pm

The construction of lists like this is almost certainly out of an insecure impulse to prove the enterprise is valuable in the first place.

24 Rob August 27, 2014 at 10:40 pm

Justin Wolfers? Really? I know he’s a media star and the work on happiness is interesting and all; but honestly, does he really deserve to be on this list?

25 andrew' August 28, 2014 at 1:59 am


26 Student August 28, 2014 at 9:20 am

Agree with Rob. Highly overrated.

27 anonymous August 28, 2014 at 12:48 am

So why does the IMF spend resources making a list like this? Some people must have put some time and thought and discussion and coordination into this…

I’m not an economist, so I haven’t heard all the names on the list. But given the institutions, they’re all very well established. It’s not clear that there’s any benefit to being named ‘IMF Top 25 Young Economist’. Only a handful seem to be pre-tenure and while this would be a nice line to add to the tenure package, it’s hard to imagine that it would be a particularly important one.

Wouldn’t it be more useful for the IMF to identify interesting people at universities in developing countries, for example? That seems like it would have more impact, if it increased the visibility or influence (domestically or internationally) of someone who otherwise lacked resources.

28 Ray Lopez August 28, 2014 at 12:54 am

They missed Ashok, who used to comment here.

29 genauer August 28, 2014 at 2:44 am

The former chancellor of Austria once answered, when asked why Austria was economically so successful, despite the difficult circumstances (living in the mountains with little coal,steel, etc):

We exported all our economists

There is not a single German on the list, despite Germany being certainly one of the most sucessful economies coming out of this crisis.

Maybe economists are just not needed for this, or even harmful, when of the MIT / IMF type

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