Economic theorist Susan C. Athey will join Harvard’s faculty this
summer, becoming the third tenured female economics professor in the
Athey, 35, is well-known for her research on industrial
organization, a field of economics that deals with the behavior of
firms and market structures. Some of her most acclaimed work has
focused on timber auctions, and she has advised forestry officials in
the Canadian province of British Columbia.
According to Professor of Economics David I. Laibson ’88, Athey will bring a new perspective to the economics department.
“Athey is one of the leading economists in the world working at
the boundary of industrial organization and economic theory,” Laibson
wrote in an e-mail. “She will serve as a bridge between these two
fields within our department.”
In 2001, the American Economics Association awarded Athey the
Elaine Bennett Research Prize, given every two years to the nation’s
best young female economist. In 1999, the National Science Foundation
gave her a CAREER award for “teacher-scholars who most effectively
integrate research and education.”
Athey spent the fall at Harvard as a visiting professor in
economics. She taught three graduate courses on industrial
She returns to Cambridge after a six-year stint at MIT, from
1995 to 2001. Her move from Cambridge to Stanford in 2001 was cited by
The New York Times that year as a sign of the MIT economic department’s
Athey also works at the Cambridge-based National Bureau of Economics Research.
Athey wrote in an e-mail that her experience in the fall and
Harvard’s goal of hiring more female professors influenced her decision
“During my semester at Harvard, I got the chance to interact
with Harvard’s terrific faculty and students,” Athey wrote. “I was
particularly pleased with the recent progress towards making the
university more welcoming to women faculty, especially the adoption of
the recommendations by the task forces on women.”
Athey said that she will only teach graduate courses next
year, because she will be on maternity leave next fall. She added that
she wants to teach a new course for undergraduates on economic markets
in the 2007-2008 academic year.
Athey said that she is excited to research at Harvard.
“I hope to take my research in new directions through
collaboration with Harvard’s outstanding faculty, whose expertise in
areas such as health economics and matching markets will hopefully
stimulate new thinking for me,” Athey wrote.
The chair of the economics department, Alberto F. Alesina,
wrote in an e-mail that Athey “is a fantastic addition” to Harvard’s
“She is extremely energetic and committed to her students, both undergraduate and graduate,” Alesina wrote.
The first female to hold a tenured chair in economics at Harvard, Claudia Goldin, also praised Athey’s teaching abilities.
“She is a terrific teacher who is dedicated to the teaching and
mentoring of students—particularly female students,” Goldin, the Lee
professor of economics, wrote in an e-mail.
—Staff writer Adrian J. Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.