Melissa Dell (Harvard) receives Calvó Prize for research on micro-foundations of political and social phenomena

Melissa Dell receives the Calvó Prize in Andorra

The fifth edition of the Calvó-Armengol International Prize was formally awarded to Melissa Dell (Harvard University) on May 29, 2018 in a ceremony in Andorra. Prize activities with Professor Dell continued in Barcelona with the Calvó Prize Lecture and Calvó Prize Workshop.

The Prize organizers who presented the award to Professor Dell were Teresa Garcia-Milà, Director of the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics; Antoni Martí, Head of the Government of Andorra; and Antoni Pintat, Chairman of the Board of Crèdit Andorrà. During the ceremony, Professor Dell stated that she was "honored and very happy" to receive an award that recognizes the impact that research has for society, as she has always tried to conduct studies that will impact people's lives.

The Calvó Prize is awarded every two years in memory of Antoni Calvó-Armengol, a native of Andorra and professor at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and the Barcelona GSE who made outstanding contributions in social economics. Professor Dell was chosen to receive this year's Prize for her research on the micro-foundations of important political and social phenomena.

"Melissa 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"

Calvó Prize Committee
Salvador Barberà (UAB and Barcelona GSE), Esther Duflo (MIT), and Matthew Jackson (Stanford)

Both Professor Dell's Prize Lecture and Workshop focused on the idea of "Persistence and Transformation in Economic Development." In her lecture, she discussed studies she's worked on that reveal the historical roots of current socioeconomic realities in places like Peru, Indonesia, and the Congo, where colonialism had lasting effects on certain regions and populations. She also suggested ways that new research methods such as machine learning could unlock sources of historical data that would allow researchers to explore new contexts.

Highlights from the Calvó Prize Lecture at the Col·legi d'Economistes de Catalunya in Barcelona

Watch the full lecture on YouTube

See all photos on Flickr

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.

Previous recipients of the Calvó Prize:

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