Professor of Economics receives Frontiers of Knowledge Award for research that reveals the role of networks in economic and social life
Matthew O. Jackson, the William D. Eberle Professor in the Department of Economics in the School of Humanities and Sciences (H&S) and senior fellow at SIEPR, has received a 2021 Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Economics, Finance, and Management category “for illuminating the key role of networks in the transactions of economic and social life.”
The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards recognize fundamental contributions in eight domains—Basic Sciences (physics, chemistry, and mathematics); Biology and Biomedicine; Information and Communication Technologies; Ecology and Conservation Biology; Climate Change; Economics, Finance, and Management; Humanities and Social Sciences; and Music and Opera. The recipients of the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards receive 400,000 euros (about $437,670 USD), a diploma, and a commemorative artwork representing the eight categories.
Jackson is known for co-founding the study of networks in economics and his research in this area. He is also known for his work in the disciplines of game theory and microeconomic theory. His investigations of patterns of human behavior and interactions include important studies of the labor market and inequalities; patterns of segregation and how networks mediate access to opportunities and information; social learning and the diffusion of information; and the spread of financial distress between firms.
The award citation highlights Jackson’s contributions to networks, stating he “recognized the importance of networks for economics over 25 years ago,” in a theoretical paper that showed “how to predict which networks will form depending on the costs and benefits of forming links, and how these networks differ from the optimal ones.” The citation states Jackson “has inspired an enormous literature, both theoretical and empirical, in which networks play an essential role in helping us understand financial markets, economic development, and a host of other economic phenomena.”
Upon learning he’d been honored with the prize Jackson said, “the honor is one that I especially appreciate as one of the first awardees was my undergraduate advisor, Hugo Sonnenschein, who was also my mentor, coauthor, and close friend. It is wonderful to be joining the list of colleagues who have received the award in the past, and to see the recognition for the research community in social and economic networks.”
Since the awards were established in 2008 by the BBVA Foundation, a total of 11 Stanford faculty have received BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards in various categories. Stanford faculty who received the award in the Economics, Finance, and Management category include Paul R. Milgrom, the Shirley R. and Leonard W. Ely Jr. Professor of Humanities and Sciences and SIEPR fellow, who received the 2012 award; Robert B. Wilson, the Adams Distinguished Professor of Management in the Graduate School of Business, Emeritus, who received the 2015 award; and Timothy Bresnahan, the Landau Professor in Technology and the Economy in H&S and SIEPR senior fellow, Emeritus, who received the 2017 award.