Published March 08, 2005 in The Tufts Daily
University to honor economists
by Alex Duncan
The Global Development and Environment Institute
(GDAE) at Tufts will be awarding the Leontief Prize
to noted developmental economists Dr. Ha-Joon Chang
of Cambridge University and Dr. Richard R. Nelson
of Columbia University.
The Leontief Prize is awarded by the
GDAE to two recipients approximately every 18 months
in honor of 1973 Nobel Prize-winning economist and
former member of GDAE's external advisory board Wasilly
Leontief, who passed away in 1999. The GDAE is jointly
affiliated with Tufts' Fletcher School of Law and
Diplomacy and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
The prize was first awarded in 2000
to developmental economists Amartya Sen and John Kenneth
According to the Co-Director of the
GDAE, Dr. Neva Goodwin, the Leontief Prize embodies
the institute's guiding principles.
"The Prize recognizes economists
that take a clear and practical look at the real world,"
Goodwin said. "Wasilly Leontief felt that economics
had become too abstract with too many theories on
top of theories. He cared deeply that facts and real
world circumstances be taken into account in economics."
Goodwin said that the 2004 recipients
exemplify these same values Leontief sought to advance
"Dr. Chang shows the way economics
should be going," Goodwin said. "He is really
interested in well-being rather than wealth, which
is the basis of traditional economics."
Chang said he was honored to receive
the award and is encouraged to work even harder to
make a difference in a rapidly globalizing economy.
"What I have tried in the last
dozen or so years of my research career is to build
a new kind of economics that fully incorporates history,
politics, and institutions into its analytical framework,"
he said. "This kind of approach is not very popular
among the orthodox economists, and therefore I am
extremely pleased that the value of my effort has
been recognized by [GDAE]."
Nelson was also very appreciative.
"I'm just delighted and flattered,"
he said. "Throughout my career, I have tried
to develop a view of economics that conveys the importance
of institutions, innovation, and disequilibrium, and
it's nice to know that people [have] taken a strong
interest in [my] lifetime of work."
Goodwin praised Nelson as an exceptional
systemic thinker and for his highly respected work
regarding technological innovation.
Nelson and Chang have not worked together
but share much respect for one another.
"We see eye to eye on many topics,
so it's a privilege to share this honor with him,"
Nelson said of Chang.
Chang also praised Nelson.
"He has been one of my intellectual
heroes. His path-breaking work on evolutionary economics
and his brilliant work, both theoretical and empirical,
work on innovation and technological changes, have
influenced me deeply," Chang said.
Chang is the author of the book "Kicking
Away the Ladder - Development Strategy in Historical
Perspective," published in 2002.
Nelson's well-known works include "An
Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change," (co-authored
with Sydney Winter), "National Systems of Innovation:
A Comparative Study," and "Sources of Economic
Both recipients have been published
in multiple languages across the world.
GDAE will hold the award ceremony on
campus in October. More specifics will be announced
closer to the event, including location and speakers.