Alumnus receives major prize for young economists

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The American Economic Association honored Penn State alumnus Roland Fryer, a 2002 doctoral graduate in economics, with its most prestigious award for young economists: The John Bates Clark Medal. Fryer was recognized for his pioneering research on the economics of race and education.

After graduation, Fryer joined the Harvard University faculty and was one of the youngest to earn tenure there at age 30. He founded EdLabs (Education Innovation Laboratory) to promote research efforts into racial disparities in education, and continues to serve as its faculty director.  

Among his honors are the 2011 MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant and the Calvo-Armengol International Prize honoring young economists and social scientists. Time Magazine included Fryer in its list of most influential people in 2009. Previous recipients of The John Bates Clark Medal have gone on to win the Nobel Prize in Economics, including Milton Friedman, Kenneth Arrow and Paul Krugman, and influential policy makers such as Martin Feldstein and Larry Summers.

"Penn State Economics provided me with the foundation for my career,” Fryer said. “In all candor, I do not think there would have been a faculty or program anywhere in the country that would have benefited me more."

Robert Marshall, Distinguished Professor of Economics and head of the Economics Department, served as faculty adviser to Roland. He noted, “Only 10 other economics graduate programs from around the world have produced the 36 previous John Bates Clark award winners. Penn State Economics has now entered that elite club. In conjunction with our numerous other placement successes of the last 20 years, this new credential will positively affect applications to our graduate program for years into the future.” 

For more stories about Fryer and his accomplishments see content from the Harvard Gazette, the American Economics Association and the Washington Post.

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Last Updated May 20, 2015