A professor at the Kennedy School of Government became the first to win a newly established prize from the Social Science Research Council, an international academic organization, for his interdisciplinary work in global economic development.
From a pool of 31 nominees, Hariri Professor of International Political Economy Dani Rodrik ’79 was chosen by a selection committee of current and former council board members to receive the first Albert O. Hirschman Prize.
“He is an original thinker,” said Barry Eichengreen, who led the selection process and is a professor of economics and political science at the University of California, Berkeley. “He is iconoclastic, but constructive, and I think he has a healthy skepticism about the conventional wisdom thrown up by the various disciplines in the social sciences.”
The Prize, which includes a $10,000 gift, was established in honor of Albert Hirschman to recognize scholars “who have made outstanding contributions to international, interdisciplinary social science research, theory, and public communication,” according to the organization’s Web site.
When Rodrik learned that he had received the prize about a month ago, he was surprised.
“Albert Hirschman is one of the giants of the social sciences, so this is an amazingly big honor,” Rodrik said. “It’s a lot to live up to.”
Hirschman, who is currently at the Institute for Advanced Study, is best known for his economic analysis of developing countries in Latin America. His past appointments include professorships at Columbia, Yale, and Harvard.
Craig Calhoun, president of the council, said he was pleased that Rodrik is the first recipient of the award.
“I was delighted by the selection because I think Dani Rodrik is about the most interesting mid-career economist around,” Calhoun said.
“Like Hirschman, he is an economist who is able to connect the analysis of market phenomena to broader kinds of social and political phenomena.”
Rodrik’s most recent book is “One Economics, Many Recipes: Globalization, Institutions, and Economic Growth.”
After graduating summa cum laude from the College, he went on to earn a Ph.D. in economics and an MPA from Princeton University.
This November, Rodrik will deliver the Albert O. Hirschman Prize Lecture in New York City.
“What I thought I would do is deliver a speech tentatively titled, ‘How much have we learned about development policy since Albert Hirschman,’” Rodrik said.
“The idea is that Hirschman was one of the big thinkers in development, along with many other fields as well, but that kind of strategic thinking about development is now making its way back into the field, and I thought it would be a nice challenge to evaluate current work from a Hirschmanesque filter.”