George Akerlof



  • Senior Fellow
  • Institutions, Organizations & Growth


  • Georgetown University
McCourt School of Public Policy


  • United States


PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
BA, Yale University


Economist George Akerlof’s most important research initiative in recent years has involved bringing a new point of view into economics.

This point of view incorporates into economic thinking some of the most important concepts in classical sociology, including identity, prescriptions (or norms), ideal types and social categories (or reference groups). These concepts have their counterpart and experimental validation in social psychology. By ignoring them, economists have neglected to see a wide range of important policy options that aim to change how people think of themselves. This variable – identity – has a major role to play in many subfields of economics. These include the economics of education, of gender, of income distribution (including the place of disadvantaged minorities), of substance abuse, of unions, of fertility and of politics. In 2001, Akerlof won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, together with A. Michael Spence and Joseph E. Stiglitz, “for their analyses of markets with asymmetric information.”


President, American Economic Association

Global Economy Prize, Kiel Institute

Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences (co-recipient)

Guggenheim Fellowship

Koshland Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley

Relevant Publications

Akerlof, G.A., and R.J. Shiller. Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception. Princeton University Press, 2015.

Akerlof, G.A., and R. Kranton. Identity Economics: How Our Identities Shape Our Work, Wages, and Well-Being. Princeton University Press, 2011.

Akerlof, G.A., and R.J. Shiller. Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism. Princeton University Press, 2009.

Akerlof, G., and R. Kranton. "Economics and Identity." Q. J. Econ. 115 (August 2000): 715–53.