March 20, 1997
Vol. 16, No. 13

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    Murphy wins AEA's Clark Medal

    Award goes to outstanding U.S. economist under 40 Kevin Murphy, the George Pratt Shultz Professor in the Graduate School of Business and an alumnus of the University, has been awarded the 1997 John Bates Clark Medal of the American Economic Association. The medal is given only once every two years to the most outstanding American economist under age 40.

    Among economists, the Clark Medal is generally regarded as being as important as the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science, according to John Huizinga, Deputy Dean and the Walter David "Bud" Fackler Professor in the GSB.

    Murphy, 39, was cited for his study of the causes of growing income inequality in the United States between white-collar and blue-collar workers. His research shows that increased demand for skilled labor -- not other factors such as increased international trade -- has caused growth in wage inequality.

    "Kevin Murphy epitomizes the scholarly tradition at the Graduate School of Business," said Robert Hamada, Dean of the GSB. "He focuses his research, delves extremely deeply into subjects and challenges existing beliefs. We are very proud to have him on our faculty."

    Murphy has "made major contributions not only to the study of income inequality, but in his analysis of economic growth, the economic theory of addiction, industrial organization and other fields," said Gary Becker, University Professor in Economics, himself a recipient of the Clark Medal in 1967. Becker received the Nobel Prize in economics in 1992.

    "Kevin Murphy is a brilliant economist whose skills span the full range of our discipline," said Finis Welch, a member of the awards committee of the American Economic Association and a professor of economics at Texas A&M University.

    Welch called Murphy's contributions to the field of wage inequality "among the most basic, yet wide-ranging, revealing, and downright pathbreaking."

    A faculty member since 1983, Murphy received his B.A. in 1981 from the University of California and his Ph.D. in 1986 from Chicago. He was elected a fellow of the Econometric Society in 1993.

    The John Bates Clark Medal was first awarded in 1947 to economist Paul Samuelson. In addition to Murphy and Becker, other University faculty members to receive the award include Milton Friedman, the Paul Snowden Russell Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Economics, and James Heckman, the Henry Schultz Professor in Economics.