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5th Calvó-Armengol Prize to be awarded to Melissa Dell (Harvard)

Melissa Dell to receive Calvó Prize

Photo: Harvard


Professor Dell has been chosen for her pathbreaking research on the micro-foundations of important political and social phenomena.

The Barcelona Graduate School of Economics, in cooperation with the Government of Andorra and the Credit Andorrà Foundation, is pleased to announce that the fifth Calvó-Armengol International Prize in Economics will be awarded to Melissa Dell.

Melissa Dell is Assistant Professor of Economics at Harvard University. Before this she was at Harvard's Society of Fellows. She received her PhD from MIT, an MPhil from Oxford, and her BA from Harvard, all in Economics. She has been a Rhodes Scholar and a Sloan Fellow. 

Professor Dell will officially receive the fifth edition of the Calvó Prize in Spring 2018. Activities related to the Prize include an award ceremony in Andorra, homeland of Toni Calvó; an academic conference in Barcelona, where Prof. Calvó spent much of his research career; and an academic workshop to be directed by Prof. Dell. The Prize also includes a cash award of €30,000. 

Originality, innovation, and connections to Antoni Calvó's research

The Prize Selection Committee members were Professors Salvador Barberà (UAB and BGSE), Esther Duflo (MIT), and Matthew O. Jackson (Stanford, committee chair). The committee states that “Despite her young age, Dell’s research is already considered pathbreaking in illuminating how political institutions function. Her work combines historical data with clever means of identifying causal patterns in order to understand what leads political and social systems to function well or poorly. Her highly original, important research provides careful and deep new insights into areas that defined Toni Calvó's research program.”

Some of Professor Dell’s most well-known research contributions include:

  • How political changes in Mexico impacted drug wars and network patterns of trade
  • How a forced-labor mining system from centuries ago had a lasting effect on political and social institutions in Peru
  • How US military strategies in Vietnam had a lasting impact on that country’s institutions
  • A variety of studies detailing how weather patterns and temperatures affect economic productivity

Prize background

The Calvó-Armengol International Prize memorializes Antoni Calvó-Armengol, who passed away in 2007 at 37 years of age. A native of Andorra, Calvó was a professor at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and the Barcelona GSE who made outstanding contributions in social economics.

The Calvó Prize is awarded every two years to an economist or other social scientist who is not older than 40 years old, for his or her contributions to the understanding of social structure and its implications for economic interactions. 

Previous recipients of the Calvó Prize: