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Harvard Economics Professor Wins Research Prize

Erica M. Field receives Elaine Bennett Research Prize for women in economic

By Jane Seo, Contributing Writer

Associate Economics Professor Erica M. Field was recently named the 2010 recipient of the Elaine Bennett Research Prize.

The biennial award, given by the American Economic Association, recognizes a woman at the beginning of her career for outstanding research in any field of economics.

“I was thrilled when I got the phone call,” said Field, who was notified about two weeks ago. “I was very surprised.”

Having received her Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2003, Field joined the Economics Department at Harvard in the spring of 2005.

“What I do is not traditionally mainstream economics,” Field said. “It’s great that people become more aware of the issue on gender and health development and recognize it as a topic worth researching.”

Field’s primary interests include development economics and labor economics. Her past research topics have focused on the effect of property rights and credit availability on economic development, the nature of marriage contracts in Bangladesh, and the importance of the micronutrient iodine for public health and women’s educational achievement.

Established in 1998, the prize is given in honor of Elaine Bennett, who specialized in experimental economics and mentored many young women pursuing careers in various areas of the field, according to the AEA.

“I feel humbled to be a part of the distinguished group,” Field said.

The only other recipient thus far from Harvard was Economics Professor Susan Athey, who won the award in 2000.

In addition to her post at Harvard, Field is a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a research affiliate of the Bureau for Research in Economic Analysis of Development, and has been a Robert Wood Johnson Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Health Policy.

Other members of the department lauded her accomplishment and creative research.

“Professor Erica Field has impressed not only her colleagues here at Harvard, but the economics profession in general, with her broad interests and innovative research methodology,” said John Y. Campbell, chair of the economics department.

“The faculty in the economics department are delighted that Erica has won this award,” Economics Professor N. Gregory Mankiw said.

“It reflects her terrific research contributions to date and also her great promise.”

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