2012 Erwin Plein Nemmers Economics Prize Recipient

Congratulations to the 2012 Nemmers Mathematics Prize winner
Daron Acemoglu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Daron Acemoglu

2012 Nemmers Prize in Economics Recipient

Daron Acemoglu

For fundamental contributions to the understanding of political institutions, technical change and economic growth

Official press release

Daron Acemoglu is an extremely productive economist whose work is motivated by real-world questions that arise when facts are difficult to reconcile with existing theory. Acemoglu’s research covers a wide range of areas within economics, including political economy, economic development and growth, human capital theory, growth theory, innovation, search theory and network economics and learning. His work has propelled him to the frontier of each of the variety of fields he has explored and he has been especially innovative in his most recent area of study dealing with the role of institutions in the political and economic development of nations.

His latest book, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty (with James A. Robinson), is receiving great acclaim. The authors argue that bad institutions are the reason nations fail. Countries with governments that extend political and property rights as broadly as possible, while enforcing laws and providing some public infrastructure, experience the greatest growth over the long run, according to the book. Getting the economics right requires getting the politics right, Acemoglu insists. In a recent column, The New York Times' Thomas Friedman referred to Why Nations Fail as a "fascinating new book," writing that Acemoglu and Robinson's "core point is that countries thrive when they build political and economic institutions that 'unleash,' empower and protect the full potential of each citizen to innovate, invest and develop."

Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy, another book by Acemoglu and Robinson, received a number of awards, including the Association of American Publishers Award of Excellence in Professional Scholarly Publishing, in Economics and Finance. Acemoglu also is the author of a book titled Introduction to Modern Economic Growth. His academic work has been published in leading scholarly journals, including the American Economic Review and Econometrica, of which he is the editor.

Among his numerous honors, Acemoglu is the recipient of the 2005 John Bates Clark Medal, awarded to an American economist in the United States under the age of 40 who is judged to have made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge. He is a member of the Economic Growth program of the Canadian Institute of Advanced Research and is affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research.