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Nobel Prize-Winning Economist Michael Kremer Departs Harvard for Chicago

The Littauer Center for Public Administration houses the Department of Economics.
The Littauer Center for Public Administration houses the Department of Economics. By Krystal K. Phu
By James S. Bikales and Kevin R. Chen, Crimson Staff Writers

Harvard Economics professor Michael R. Kremer ’85, one of the recipients of the 2019 Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences, is leaving Cambridge to direct a new Development Innovation Lab at the University of Chicago.

“The University of Chicago’s commitment to the Development Innovation Lab provides a tremendous opportunity to develop new knowledge on ways to address global poverty and ultimately to expand economic opportunity and improve lives,” Kremer wrote in an email. “I am excited to join the faculty at Chicago and to help build the Lab.”

Kremer, who will join both the Economics and Harris School of Public Policy faculties at the University of Chicago, will begin his new roles on Sept. 1.

Harvard Economics chair Jeremy C. Stein wrote in an email to the department faculty that Kremer's departure is an “enormous loss.”

“This is an enormous loss and we will miss Michael terribly—as a scholar, colleague, mentor, and friend,” Stein wrote. “But I know you join me in wishing both Michael and Rachel all the best in their new endeavors at Chicago.

Kremer wrote that he will remember his three decades — including more than 20 years as a professor — at Harvard fondly.

“I have had a wonderful experience at Harvard as an undergraduate, graduate student, and faculty member, and learned a tremendous amount from colleagues and students here,” he wrote.

Kremer won the 2019 Nobel Prize along with MIT Economics professors Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo for their research on alleviating global poverty.

The group pioneered a new approach to development economics: conducting experiments with randomized controlled trials to explore the root causes of poverty in developing countries.

Kremer was scheduled to teach ECON 2390: “Development Economics” and several graduate seminars this fall, and Freshman Seminar 41J: “Economic Development” in the spring. The Freshman Seminar Program announced on its website that the course would no longer be offered.

—Staff writer James S. Bikales can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jamepdx.

—Staff writer Kevin R. Chen can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @kchenx.

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