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A. Michael Spence

A. Michael Spence
Professor and Dean Emeritus, Economics
A.MichaelSpence
Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean, Emeritus
Chairman, Advisory Board of Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies (SEED)
Academic Area: 
Economics

Research Statement

A. Michael Spence’s research interests focus on the study of economic growth and development, dynamic competition and the economics of information.

Bio

A. Michael Spence is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean, Emeritus, at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University. He is the chairman of an independent Commission on Growth and Development, created in 2006 and focused on growth and poverty reduction in developing countries.

In 2001, he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to the analysis of markets with asymmetric information. He received the John Bates Clark Medal of the American Economic Association awarded to economists under 40. He is currently the chairman of an independent Commission on Growth and Development.

He served as Philip H. Knight Professor and dean of the Stanford Business School from 1990 to 1999. As dean, he oversaw the finances, organization, and educational policies of the school. He taught at Stanford as an associate professor of economics from 1973 to 1975.

From 1975 to 1990, he served as professor of economics and business administration at Harvard University, holding a joint appointment in its Business School and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. In l983, he was named chairman of the Economics Department and George Gund Professor of Economics and Business Administration. Spence was awarded the John Kenneth Galbraith Prize for excellence in teaching in 1978 and the John Bates Clark Medal in 1981 for a “significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge.”

From 1984 to 1990, Spence served as the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard, overseeing Harvard College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the Division of Continuing Education.

From 1977 to 1979, he was a member of the Economics Advisory Panel of the National Science Foundation and in 1979 served as a member of the Sloan Foundation Economics Advisory Committee. At various times, he has served as a member of the editorial boards of American Economics Review, Bell Journal of Economics, Journal of Economic Theory, and Public Policy.

Among his many honors, Spence was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1983 and was awarded the David A. Wells Prize for outstanding doctoral dissertation at Harvard University in 1972.

He has served as member of the boards of directors of General Mills, Siebel Systems, Nike, and Exult, and a number of private companies. From 1991 to 1997, he was chairman of the National Research Council Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy.

He is a member of the American Economic Association and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD, Harvard University, 1972
  • BA/MA, Oxford University, 1968
  • BA (summa cum laude), Princeton University, 1966

Academic Appointments

  • At Stanford University since 1990. Emeritus since 2000
  • Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean of Stanford GSB, 1990-1999
  • Professor of Economics and Business Administration, Harvard University, 1975-1990
  • Associate Professor of Economics, Stanford University, 1973-1975
  • Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University, 1984-1990

Awards and Honors

  • Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, 2001
  • John Bates Clark Medal for Contributions to Economic Research, American Economic Association, 1981
  • J. K. Galbraith Prize for Excellence in Teaching, 1978
  • David A. Wells Prize for outstanding doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, 1972
  • Danforth Fellow, 1966
  • Rhodes Scholar, 1966

Publications

Journal Articles

Mohamed El-Erian, A. Michael Spence. World Economics Journal. 2008, Vol. 9, Issue 1.
A. Michael Spence. Report of the Commission on Growth and Development. 2008.
A. Michael Spence. National Bureau of Economics Volume on Capital Structure. 1985.
A. Michael Spence. Econometrica. May 1984, Vol. 52, Issue 1, Pages 101-122.
A. Michael Spence. Journal of Economic Literature. September 1983, Vol. 21, Issue 3, Pages 981-990.
Michael E. Porter, A. Michael Spence. National Bureau of Economics. 1982, Pages 259-316.
A. Michael Spence. Strategy, Predation, and Antitrust Analysis. Federal Trade Commission, September 1981, Pages 45-88.
A. Michael Spence. Studies in Labor Markets. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, September 1981.
A. Michael Spence. Bell Journal of Economics. 1981, Vol. 12, Issue 1, Pages 49-70.
A. Michael Spence. Review of Economic Studies. 1980, Vol. 47, Issue 5, Pages 821-841.
A. Michael Spence. Bell Journal of Economics. March 1979, Vol. 10, Issue 1, Pages 1-19.

Books

David W. Brady, A. Michael Spence World Bank, 2010.
Garth Saloner, A. Michael Spence New York: Wiley, 2002.

Courses Taught

Degree Courses

2012-13

The course deals with the recent (post war) sustained high growth in the developing world and its likely evolution and impact in the future. How are these kinds of growth rates possible? What accounts for the absence of growth in a part of the...

Stanford Case Studies

BabyCenter | EC11
Tyee Harpster, Garth Saloner, A. Michael Spence, Meredith Unruh2000
Disintermediation in the U.S. Auto Industry | EC10
Eric Marti, Garth Saloner, A. Michael Spence2000
E-Commerce Building Blocks | EC6
Garth Saloner, A. Michael Spence, Christopher Thomas, Elizabeth Urban2000
Gap.com | EC9A
Katherine McIntyre, Ezra Perlman, Garth Saloner, A. Michael Spence2000
Karen Brown | EC12
Kasey Craig, Garth Saloner, A. Michael Spence2000
NIKE - Channel Conflict | EC9B
Katherine McIntyre, Ezra Perlman, Garth Saloner, A. Michael Spence2000
Pricing and Branding on the Internet | EC8
Garth Saloner, Kostas Sgoutas, A. Michael Spence2000
QRS Corporation | EC2
Eric Marti, Garth Saloner, A. Michael Spence2000
SAP and the Online Procurement Market | EC5
Eric Marti, Garth Saloner, A. Michael Spence2000
Tradeweave | EC14
Garth Saloner, A. Michael Spence2000
Siebel Systems, Inc. | EC1
Eric Marti, Garth Saloner, A. Micheal Spence1999
Nike: Global Brand Management | IB14C
Tina Shah, A. Michael Spence, Gregory Tusher1998
Cisco Systems: A Novel Approach to Structuring Entrepreneurial Ventures | EC15
Garth Saloner, A Michael Spence, James McJunkin, Todd Reynders1997

Stanford University Affiliations

Greater Stanford University

  • Affiliation commas wrapper

    Stanford Integrated Manufacturing Association (SIMA)

Service to the Profession

  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Fellow, Econometric Society
  • Member, American Economic Association

In the Media

Project Syndicate, September 22, 2012
Writing for Project Syndicate, the Stanford GSB's David Brady and Dean Emeritus Michael Spence examine why governments are struggling to take bold action on the global economy.
Interview with Nobel Winner Michael Spence
National Public Radio, December 14, 2011
An Interview with Mike Spence: The Network Economy Needs a Framework of Global Governance
Les Echos, January 2003
Internet Promises a Truly Global Economy
Toronto Star, November 30, 2002
Salt Spring News, November 14, 2001
Stanford Business School's Spence Wins Nobel Prize for Economics
Business Wire, January 2001
Nobel Prize's Canadian Connection
The Toronto Star, January 2001
Le Miracle Economique Atteindra-t-il la Suisse?
Tribune de Geneve, January 1998
The Economist, April 27, 1997

Insights by Stanford Business

May 8, 2014
An expert on developing economies explains how a slowing Chinese economy could be good for China — and for the rest of us.
October 17, 2013
Market reactions to eurozone unification led to divergent labor productivity rates.
April 1, 2010
The economist says the resilience of developing nations during the world economic crisis is encouraging, but long-term growth needs a global strategy.
August 1, 2001
In an excerpt from their book, Garth Saloner and Michael Spence explore the ways managers can use technological innovations to add value.