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George Akerlof 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 same concepts have their counterpart and experimental validation in social psychology. By ignoring these concepts, economists have neglected to see a wide range of important policy options that aim to change how people think of themselves. This variable of 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 politics, of substance abuse, of unions, of fertility, and of politics. Akerlof was a co-recipient of the 2001 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, 2006.

Global Economy Prize, Kiel Institute, 2006.

Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, 2001.

Guggenheim Fellowship

Koshland Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley

Relevant Publications

G. Akerlof and R. Kranton, "Economics and Identity," Q. J. Econ., vol 115, pp. 715-753, Aug. 2000.


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

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

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



Program Co-Director Social Interactions, Identity & Well Being

Fellow Social Interactions, Identity & Well Being

Senior Fellow Institutions, Organizations & Growth


Georgetown UniversityMcCourt School of Public Policy


PhD Massachusetts Institute of Technology

BA Yale University


United States

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