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Chicago Graduate School of Business Professor Kevin Murphy Receives 2005 MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant"

September 20, 2005

Kevin M. Murphy, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, has been named a MacArthur Fellow for 2005. He will receive $500,000 in “no strings attached” support over the next five years under terms of the award from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Murphy is the first professor at a business school to be chosen as a MacArthur Fellow in the 25 years that the awards have been given. He was selected for “revealing economic forces shaping vital social phenomena such as wage inequality, unemployment, addiction, medical research, and economic growth.”

His work “challenges preconceived notions and attacks seemingly intractable economic questions, placing them on a sound empirical and theoretical footing,” the foundation said.

The foundation’s criteria for the awards, popularly known as “genius grants,” include exceptional creativity and promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment.

Candidates are nominated, evaluated and selected through a rigorous and confidential process. There are no restrictions on how the award funds are used.

Murphy, the George J. Stigler Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and the Department of Economics, joins 24 other recipients of the award this year in fields as diverse as documentary filmmaking and neurobiology.

Olufunmilayo Olopade, a professor of medicine and human genetics at the University of Chicago Hospitals, was also among this year’s winners. Danielle Allen, Dean of the Humanities Division at the University of Chicago, received the honor in 2001. Nineteen current or former faculty members at the University of Chicago have been named MacArthur Fellows.

During the current academic quarter Murphy is teaching “Advanced Microeconomic Analysis” to students in the full-time M.B.A. program and the part-time evening M.B.A. program. Later in the year he will teach “Economic Analysis of Major Policy Issues,” with Gary Becker, a professor of economics and Nobel Laureate, and Edward Snyder, dean of the Graduate School of Business.

Murphy became a lecturer at Chicago GSB in 1983 while he was a Ph.D. student in the University of Chicago’s economics department. He was appointed assistant professor when he received his Ph.D. in 1986, associate professor in 1988 and full professor in 1989.

Murphy is the recipient of many honors and awards including the John Bates Clark Medal in 1997 from the American Economic Association. The award is given once every two years to the most outstanding American economist under the age of 40.

More than 60 of Murphy’s research papers have been published in scholarly journals and he has written two books: Measuring the Gains from Medical Research: An Economic Approach (edited volume with Robert Topel), University of Chicago Press, 2003, and Social Economics: Market Behavior in a Social Environment (with Gary S. Becker), Harvard University Press (the Belknap Press), 2000.

The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business is one of the oldest and largest business schools in the world. It offers full-time and part-time M.B.A. programs, a Ph.D. program, open enrollment executive education and custom corporate education. The school has campuses in London and Singapore in addition to two campuses in Chicago.

Included among the school’s many successful alumni are James Kilts, chairman, president and chief executive of Gillette, Karen Katen, vice chairman of Pfizer and president of Pfizer Human Heath, and Brady Dougan, chief executive of Credit Suisse First Boston.

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NOTE TO REPORTERS AND EDITORS: A biography of Kevin Murphy written by the MacArthur Foundation is available.