President Neil L. Rudenstine said in an interview last week that he has narrowed the list of candidates for provost to "a few people" and hopes to make an appointment by early next week.
Citing privacy concerns, Rudenstine refused to identify the candidates or indicate precisely how many individuals were still under consideration for the University's second-highest post.
But University officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Wells Professor of Political Economy Jerry R. Green and Whitehead Professor of Political Philosophy Dennis F. Thompson are two of the top contenders for the position.
The provost will work closely with Rudenstine and take responsibility for University-wide academic planning.
Rudenstine said in a Crimson interview Thursday that he expected a final decision in "the next week to 10 days."
In addition to Green and Thompson, Dillon Professor of International Affairs Joseph S. Nye Jr. and Watts Professor of Health Care Policy Barbara J. McNeil may still be candidates for the position.
Several scholars on a previous 12-member short list are now considered out of the running.
Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit Stephen G. Breyer, Pforzheimer University Professor Sidney Verba '53 and Gaiser Professor of Biological Chemistry and Pharmacology Christopher T. Walsh Jr. '65 said this weekend they have not discussed the job with Rudenstine and did not consider themselves candidates.
In addition, Rotch Professor of Atmospheric Science Michael B. McElroy and Cabot Professor of Medical Biophysics Stanley J. Adelstein have not been contacted about the job and are most likely out of the running, according top sources close to the professors.
And Mallinckrodt Professor of Chemistry George M. Whitesides '60 is a long shot at best because sources in the administration have indicated that Rudenstine will not select a scientist. He has already appointed a chemist, Houghton Professor of Chemistry Jeremy R. Knowles, to an-other top University post, the Faculty deanship.
Dean of the Business School John H. MacArthur and Dean of the Medical School Deniel C. Tosteson '44 are also considered long shots. Observers say Tosteson, at age 67, may be too old for the post and MacArthur may be too controversial a choice.
Green, 45, is the youngest candidate of the dozen. He served as chair of the economics department for three years and was recently appointed chair of a Faculty committee on retirement. His most recent research has focused on tax enforcement and aspects of behavior in risky situations.
Colleagues in the Economics Department say Green is an innovative and "daring" teacher, and one professor said he would not be surprised if Green took the provost job.
Thompson, 51, directs the University Program in Ethics and the Professions and is Professor of government in the Kennedy School in addition to his Faculty appointment. Former President Derek C. Bok once said Thompson was the only person in the country qualified to run an ethics program.
Thompson met Rudenstine while at Harvard almost 25 years ago, and they are personal friends. The two both held positions at Princeton University between 1968 and 1986.