Rogoff Awarded for Work on Securities

Economics Professor Kenneth S. Rogoff received further recognition for his best-selling analysis of financial crises in early January when he was awarded the fifteenth annual TIAA-CREF Paul A. Samuelson Award for Outstanding Scholarly Writing on Lifelong Financial Security.

He won for his 2009 book, “This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly.”

Rogoff shares the award with his co-author, Carmen M. Reinhart, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington D.C. Their book, published in the wake of the financial crisis, identifies similarities among a variety of financial crises through the ages.

“The whole (ironic) ‘This Time of Different’ theme speaks to how so often in the run-up to a crisis, everyone is convinced that financial crashes only happen to other people at other times in other places,” Rogoff, who is on leave for the current academic leave, wrote in an e-mail.

“Importantly, we aimed to write a book that was quantitative and not simply qualitative. We worked on the book for almost seven years. We were certainly inspired by the 1963 book by Milton Friedman and Anna Schwarz, ‘A Monetary History of the United States,’” Rogoff wrote.

“Ken and Carmen take the global financial crisis, that to some appeared to be an incomprehensible novelty, and show how we can understand it as a particularly widespread example of an established historical phenomenon,” wrote Economics Department Chair John Y. Campbell.

Campbell, who himself received the award in 2002, congratulated his colleague.

“I have been proud to win this award in the past, and am delighted that Ken Rogoff won this year with such an important book,” Campbell added.

The award, named after economist and Nobel Prize winner Paul A. Samuelson, is given annually “in recognition of an outstanding research publication containing ideas that the public and private sectors can use to maintain and improve America’s lifelong financial well being,” according to a TIAA-CREF press release. A $10,000 prize is awarded to the winner.

“Reinhart’s and Rogoff’s fascinating book provides realistic tools for future prevention of societal financial crises through the identification of critical recurring precipitating events,” Stephanie Bell-Rose, head of the TIAA-CREF Institute, wrote in the press release.

“This year’s winning book provides a vivid reminder about the lessons of history

“It is a great honor,” Rogoff wrote. “I was also happy because I took a class from Paul Samuelson back in graduate school, and benefited from occasional comments, ideas and thoughts he sent me over the years,” Rogoff wrote in an e-mail. “He is widely regarded as one of the greatest economists who ever lived.”

—Staff writer Zachary Hamed can be reached at zhamed@college.harvard.edu.

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