Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Kevin Murphy...

...has won a MacArthur genius grant. Steven Levitt has some wonderful words about him:
It is hard to know where to start when describing Kevin. His early mentor Finis Welch describes how one day, when Kevin was an undergraduate, he introduced himself to Welch and asked Welch what he was working on. When Professor Welch described it, Kevin pointed out a fundamental flaw in the argument. Welch recalls that he scribbled down what Kevin was saying, only half understanding it, and it took him a few days to work out that Kevin was completely right. That wasn't an isolated incident. Rarely do I leave Kevin's office without myself having accumulated a set of scribbles that take days for me to sort out. And I have been asked for a sheet of paper by a Nobel Laureate trying to capture Kevin's thoughts during a hallway conversation.
He is who we all aspire to be, but can you really aspire to be a genius? Probably not.

Only ten economists have won the grant and Murphy is only the second John Bates Clark Award winner to win. (The other was Matthew the 2001 and 2003 winners of the Clark Award have won a Levitt next?)


Blogger Isaac said...

Murphy won the John Bates Clark award in 1997; Rabin in 2001. So I don't see much of a pattern...

1:45 PM  
Blogger henry said...

Well I got that wrong. But there's still a pattern, it's just that Acemoglu should get it next. From the seminars I saw him in, he certainly could be a genius.

What's more interesting is that the MacArthur had been given to some non-mainstream economists (Folbre, Hartmann) and now it is being given to Clark winners. So the mainstream has sort of converged with what other people find interesting and useful. Perhaps.

5:26 PM  

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