Spence, Michael (Andrew Michael Spence), 1943–, American economist and educator, b. Montclair, N.J., Ph.D. Harvard, 1972. He has taught at Stanford (1973–75, 1990–99), Harvard (1975–90), and New York Univ. (2010–), was dean of the faculty of arts and sciences at Harvard (1984–90) and of the business school at Stanford (1990–99), and was chairman of the Commission on Growth and Development (2006–10). As an economist, he has focused on economic growth and development, dynamic competition, and the economics of information. In 2001 he shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Joseph Stiglitz and George Akerlof for their work explaining how asymmetries with respect to information affect markets. In particular Spence was cited for his analysis of how education acts as a signal of a potential employee's skills and productivity and for his analysis of the insurance market.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.