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Chicago Booth’s Marianne Bertrand wins new Swedish prize in economics and management

Published on January 14, 2019

Marianne Bertrand

Marianne Bertrand, the Chris P. Dialynas Distinguished Service Professor of Economics  at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, has been named the first recipient of the Jan Söderberg Family Prize in Economics and Management. Professor Bertrand was awarded the prize for her scholarship in issues that include inequality, discrimination and sexism.

She will receive the prize and hold a lecture on March 12 in Lund, Sweden.

The new prize is awarded to a leading international scholar under the age of 50 who has made a discovery or contribution within the fields of economics and management. The prize committee sited Bertrand for research that encompasses an “outstanding breadth,” and that exemplifies the potential in contemporary methods, such as machine learning, big data, and randomized, controlled field experiments for addressing key questions in social science.

“I find it most interesting to push the boundaries of economics,” says Bertrand. “I am convinced that satisfactory answers to many of the questions that interest me cannot be provided by solely looking at market incentives or restricting the human decision-making process to strict rationality assumptions. For example, it is difficult to fully understand the sources of the gender wage gap or the sources of racial prejudice without tapping into the tools of sociology and psychology. Similarly, it is difficult to fully explore the sources and consequences of income inequality without paying attention to the role of political institutions, power and influence.”

Bertrand’s published work focuses on some of today’s most important and controversial issues: inequality, discrimination, sexism, CEO compensation and social divergence.

The Jan Söderberg Family Prize in Economics and Management is made possible by the generous donation of SEK 1 million annually, for three years, from entrepreneur Jan Söderberg and his family.

“Marianne Bertrand is one of the world’s most prominent applied micro-economists,” says Fredrik Andersson, dean at Lund University School of Economics and Management, as well as chair of the prize committee. “We see her work as an inspiration for researchers in both economics and management. Her focus on issues such as inequality and discrimination also align well with our core research agenda.”

Bertrand was born in Belgium and received a Bachelor's degree in economics and Master’s degree in econometrics from Universite Libre de Bruxelles (Free University of Brussels) in the early 1990s. She moved to the United States and earned a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 1998. She was an assistant professor and senior lecturer at Princeton University for two years before joining Chicago Booth in 2000.

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