The University of Chicago News Office
March 14, 1997

Kevin M. Murphy Wins 1997 Clark Medal

Kevin M. Murphy, a professor at the University of Chicago, has been awarded the 1997 John Bates Clark Medal of the American Economic Association. The Medal is given only once every two years to the most outstanding American economist under age 40. Among economists, the Clark Medal is generally regarded as being as important as the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science.

Murphy, 39, is the George Pratt Shultz Professor of Business Economics and Industrial Relations at the Graduate School of Business. He was cited for his study of the causes of growing income inequality in the U.S. between white-collar and blue-collar workers.

His research documents that increased demand for skilled labor – not other factors such as increased international trade – has caused growth in wage inequality. “Kevin Murphy epitomizes the scholarly tradition at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business,” said Dean Robert S. Hamada. “He focuses his research, delves extremely deeply into subjects and challenges existing beliefs. We are very proud to have him on our faculty.”

Murphy has “made major contributions not only to the study of income inequality, but in his analysis of economic growth, the economic theory of addiction, industrial organization and other fields,” said Gary Becker, a colleague of Murphy’s at the University of Chicago and himself a recipient of the Clark Medal in 1967. Becker received the Nobel Prize in economics in 1992.

“Kevin Murphy is a brilliant economist whose skills span the full range of our discipline,” said Finis Welch, a member of the awards committee of the American Economic Association and a professor of economics at Texas A&M University.

Welch called Murphy’s contributions to the field of wage inequality “among the most basic, yet wide-ranging, revealing, and downright pathbreaking.”

Murphy has taught microeconomics to students in the M.B.A. program at the University of Chicago, and also in its executive and Ph.D. programs. He also has taught courses on human resource management.

The John Bates Clark Medal was first awarded in 1947 to economist Paul Samuelson.
Last modified at 03:48 PM CST on Thursday, February 27, 2003.

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