Duke Economics Alumna Elected President of the American Economic Association

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Photo courtesy of Stanford Graduate School of Business

Susan Athey, T’ 91, has been elected president of the American Economic Association. Athey, a triple Economics/Mathematics/Computer Science alumna and professor of economics at Stanford Graduate School of Business will serve for the 2023 year.  

The American Economic Association (AEA) is a professional organization of economists that aims to promote excellence in the field of economics. The association has a wide range of initiatives and programs that serve its members and advance the discipline of economics. 

Athey is best known for her groundbreaking work in the field of market design, particularly in the areas of auction theory and mechanism design. She has made significant contributions to the study of how market platforms and institutions can be designed to improve efficiency and fairness. 

In addition to her academic accomplishments, Athey has had a significant impact on the technology industry. She served as the chief economist for Microsoft from 2007 to 2014, where she worked on improving the company's advertising and search businesses. 

Athey has received numerous awards and honors for her work, including the John Bates Clark Medal in 2007, which is awarded annually to the most promising American economist under the age of 40. In 2017, she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors for an American scientist. 

In 2019, Athey was one of the female economists to speak up about the discrimination, harassment and bullying that women in the field of economics endure. Speaking to a panel at the annual AEA conference, Athey said that through her first position in academia, “I spent all my time hoping that no one would remember I was female.” 

Addressing issues of inclusivity and equity in the field are one of her goals as the President of the American Economic Association. Through her presidency, Athey will play a significant role in shaping the direction and priorities of the organization.