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Jodi Beggs

And the Baby Nobel Goes To...

By April 27, 2012

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The John Bates Clark Medal, awarded each year by the American Economic Association to the most promising economist under the age of forty, is sometimes referred to as the "Baby Nobel," since 12 out of 34 previous winners have gone on to win the Nobel Prize in Economics. (In addition, it's worth keeping in mind that the John Bates Clark Medal has been around since 1947 but the first Nobel Prize in Economics wasn't awarded until 1969. That said, the John Bates Clark Medal was only awarded every other year before 2009.)

This year's winner of the John Bates Clark Medal is MIT's Amy Finkelstein, who specializes in the economics of health care. From the AEA:

Amy's research is focused on health insurance markets. Within this area, she has had three main interrelated lines of research: (a) Tests on the presence of asymmetric information in insurance markets; (b) Structural estimation and analysis of welfare implications of models with asymmetric information; (c) Effects of public intervention in health and long-‐term care insurance markets.

In other words, Professor Finkelstein looks at the ramifications of the fact that individuals know more about their own health than insurers do when people choose whether or not to sign up for health insurance. she also investigates whether improving access to health care makes individuals healthier and happier. Can't really argue with the importance of that.

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