Fudenberg Will Join Economics Dept.

MIT theorist Crosses Cambridge For Theory Group in Harvard's Faculty

Economics scholar Drew Fudenberg '78 will leave MIT to join the theory group at Harvard's economics department.

Fudenberg's New Year's Eve acceptance, which he confirmed yesterday, is the latest activity in a series of offers between the two schools. Earlier this fall, Professor of Economics Eric Maskin declined an offer from MIT. Harvard currently has a tenure offer outstanding to Oliver Hart, another MIT theorist.

"I think it is fair to say that the Harvard department and the MIT department are two of the very, very best departments in the country," said Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles.

It's only natural, Knowles said, that good departments seek the top-level scholars who fill their rival departments.

"It's sort of a natural problem," agreed Assistant Professor of Economics and of Social Studies Michael A. Mandler.


MIT and Harvard are separated by about two miles on Mass. Ave., but their economics professors keep in close contact.

"It isn't so much a link between departments as it is a link between people," Fudenberg said. A number of MIT and Harvard professors have collaborated on books--including Fudenberg and Maskin.

Theorists in both departments know each other well, Mandler said. In fact, Harvard and MIT scholars hold weekly joint theory seminars, bringing outside speakers, he said.

"That's the major public economic theory event," Mandler said. "The constituents of that seminar won't change by this move."

Fudenberg's crossover, in fact, will boost the Cambridge economics community, bringing another theorist to fill his open MIT post. "What Cambridge does as a whole may be more important than what each university does," Mandler said.

Still, Mandler said, Harvard's department will definitely benefit from Fudenberg's arrival next fall.

"It's hard to imagine anyone else who could have filled a senior theory slot who would have been as much of a feather in our cap as Drew Fudenberg," Mandler said.

Knowles said Fudenberg will improve the theory group, and will fill a hole left by Provost Jerry R. Green, who left the economics department for his central administration post.

Fudenberg, who expects to teach courses on gametheory and the economics of uncertainty, said hecame to Harvard because the research environmenthere better suited his needs.

"I thought that was the place where I'd do thebest research," Fudenberg said.

Theory Group

Fudenberg praises Harvard's theory group, whichincludes senior faculty members Maskin, BerkmanProfessor of Economics Andreu MasColell andProfessor of Economics Michael D. Whinston.

"I'm looking forward to a wonderful group thatwill be able to train lots of first-rate students,and to have a real influence on where theprofession goes," Fudenberg said.

And if Hart makes a similar crossover, he said,"It'll be all the better."

Fudenberg, 35, received his Ph.D from MIT in1981. He taught at Berkeley from 1981 to 1987, andthen moved to MIT.

Peter Temin, the chair of the MIT economicsdepartment, declined to comment