Harvard University Professor Raj Chetty received the 2014 Calvó-Armengol International Prize in an official ceremony on May 20 in Andorra, homeland of the Prize's namesake, Antoni Calvó-Armengol. The Prize activities continued in Barcelona with a two-day workshop for invited researchers and the Calvó Prize Lecture, open to the public and delivered at La Pedrera.
Award Ceremony in Andorra. Prof. Raj Chetty (second from right) with authorities from the three entitites that organize the Calvó-Armengol International Prize: Mr. Jaume Casal, CEO of Crèdit Andorrà; Hon. Mr. Antoni Martà, Head of the Andorran Government; and Prof. Teresa Garcia-Milà, Director of the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
An "especially meaningful" award
The Calvó-Armengol International Prize honors the memory of Barcelona GSE Affiliated Professor and ICREA-UAB Professor Antoni Calvó-Armengol, a beloved member of the Barcelona GSE community and highly esteemed researcher from Andorra who passed away unexpectedly in 2007 at the age of 37.
The Calvó Prize is awarded every two years to a top researcher in economics or social sciences younger than 40 years old for his or her contribution to the theory and comprehension of the mechanisms of social interaction. The Prize is funded by the Government of Andorra, Fundació Crèdit Andorrà and the Barcelona GSE.
"I'm very honored to receive this award," Prof. Chetty said. "It's a great recognition to be included in the list of people who have received such a prestigious award, and it's especially meaningful to me to receive an award named after Toni Calvó-Armengol given the important work that he's done and the way that he's recognized in our profession as a great person."
The American dream: what are the chances?
During the award ceremony, Prof. Chetty spoke about his work on social mobility opportunities for low-income American children. Professor Chetty and his research team have analyzed data from 40 million children and their parents in the United States, and they have identified a number of factors related to school quality, neighborhood demographics, and family life that seem to predict differences in social mobility – that is, the chances that a child from a disadvantaged background will be able to achieve "the American dream" and move up in the income distribution.
"This potentially suggests ways that policies can be improved to increase social mobility and give all children an opportunity to succeed," Prof. Chetty explained.
Video: "The Value-Added of Neighborhoods: Neighborhood Effects in Social Mobility"
Professor Chetty delivered the Calvó Prize Lecture on May 21 at La Pedrera. In the lecture, he built on his remarks from the award ceremony and took the audience through the methodology and results of his work on neighborhoods and their impact on social mobility.
"The main lesson from this work is that intergenerational mobility is shaped by environment, and may therefore be manipulable by policy, not just by genetics," Prof. Chetty explained.
Workshop brings together top researchers to debate public policy
Professor Chetty chose to focus the Calvó Prize Workshop around the topic of "Social Interactions and Public Policy." The participants included researchers from Brown, Central European University, the University of Chicago, Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and Barcelona GSE affiliated professors from UAB and UPF.
With paper topics ranging from the Affirmative Action ban in California's law schools to political connections and procurement in Hungary, these top researchers are analyzing several types of policies that could have an impact on social mobility for people in countries the world over.
2014 Calvó Prize Recipient Raj Chetty (Harvard) delivers the Prize Lecture at La Pedrera in Barcelona.
Prize Committee member Salvador Barberà (UAB and Barcelona GSE) observes connections between the work of Prof. Chetty and that of Prize namesake Antoni Calvó-Armengol.