Defining Excellence: Seventy Years of the John Bates Clark Medal

Forthcoming in the Journal for the History of Economic Thought

37 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2017 Last revised: 20 May 2019

See all articles by Beatrice Cherrier

Beatrice Cherrier

CNRS; University of Cergy-Pontoise - THEMA

Andrej Svorenčík

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 9, 2019

Abstract

Before the John Bates Clark Medal (JBCM) has become a widely acknowledged professional and public marker of excellence in economics research, in the first twenty years since its inception more than seventy years ago in 1947 it was almost discontinued three times and once even not conferred. These controversies derived from the fact that Medal was originally established to showcase the expertise of economists to other scientists, policy makers, and the wider public. While earlier awards were given to theorists, in later years empirical and policy-oriented economists gained ground reflecting how such research became more prestigious in economics. Based on a quantitative analysis of the forty Medalists so-far, we show that this empirical shift was concomitant with a decrease in the diversity and an increase in concentration of laureates: twenty-four or twenty-five out of forty awardees received their PhD degree or worked at Harvard, MIT, and Chicago at the time of being awarded respectively.

Keywords: John Bates Clark Medal, Award, Excellence, Diversity, Merit, Privilege, Theory, Applied, American Economic Association

JEL Classification: B20, B30, C00, A10, A11, A14

Suggested Citation

Cherrier, Beatrice and Svorenčík, Andrej, Defining Excellence: Seventy Years of the John Bates Clark Medal (May 9, 2019). Forthcoming in the Journal for the History of Economic Thought. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3004944 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3004944

Beatrice Cherrier (Contact Author)

CNRS ( email )

3, rue Michel-Ange
Paris, 75794
France

University of Cergy-Pontoise - THEMA ( email )

33 boulevard du port
F-95011 Cergy-Pontoise Cedex, 95011
France

Andrej Svorenčík

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics ( email )

D-68131 Mannheim
Germany

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