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Economist with keen focus on climate change to receive SIEPR Prize

Nicholas Stern, who labeled climate change as the world’s greatest and widest-ranging market failure, will receive the award on Oct. 7.

Nicholas Stern, the prominent British economist and an influential voice on the economic impacts of climate change, is this year’s recipient of the SIEPR Prize. He will receive the award during a virtual event recognizing his work and impact on Oct. 7.

Nicholas Stern
Nicholas Stern will be awarded the SIEPR Prize on Oct. 7.

The Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) gives the award every other year to a scholar or policymaker who has deeply influenced economic policy.

“We are delighted to honor Nick Stern with the SIEPR Prize,” said Mark Duggan, the Trione Director of SIEPR and the Wayne and Jodi Cooperman Professor of Economics at Stanford. “His previous work on climate change has been enormously influential in academic, business, and policy circles throughout the world.”

The award to Stern comes as Stanford is designing a school focused on climate and sustainability.

With the 2006 publication of the 700-page Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, Stern made a compelling case for calling out climate change as the world’s greatest and widest-ranging market failure. 

The work found that significantly cutting carbon pollution would cost just 1 percent of global GDP, while doing nothing would cost the world up to 20 percent of its GDP. The report held several policy prescriptions, including carbon pricing, support for low-carbon technologies, and improved energy efficiency.

“It is a great honor to be awarded this special prize,” Stern said. “ SIEPR is an outstanding institution and it is privilege to be included amongst the very distinguished previous recipients.  Stanford has been an extraordinary leader across so many disciplines, especially economics, and I am delighted to hear of Stanford’s new initiative to establish the school of sustainability, recognizing the immense challenges of climate change, and where — again — Stanford will lead.” 

Stern is currently the IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government at the London School of Economics. He also leads LSE’s India Observatory and the school’s Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. He served as president of the British Academy, between 2013 and 2017, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2014.

He was chief economist of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development from 1994 to 1999 and was subsequently the chief economist and senior vice president at the World Bank between 2000 and 2003.  His public service continued as the second permanent secretary at the U.K.’s Treasury from 2003 to 2005; director of policy and research for the Prime Minister’s Commission for Africa from 2004-2005; and head of the Government Economic Service from 2003 to 2007. He has been a cross-bench (non-party) member of the House of Lords since 2007.

Stern has published more than 15 books and 100 articles and his most recent books are “Why are We Waiting? The Logic, Urgency and Promise of Tackling Climate Change” (2015) and “How Lives Change: Palanpur, India and Development Economics” (2018, with Himanshu and Peter Lanjouw). 

Stern holds 17 honorary degrees and has received the Blue Planet Prize (2009), the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award (2010), the Leontief Prize (2010), and the Schumpeter Award (2015), amongst many others.

The SIEPR Prize was inspired and first funded by George Shultz, who served as President Richard Nixon's budget director and secretary of Labor and Treasury and later led the State Department in the Reagan administration.

Recipients of the SIEPR Prize are selected by Shultz, Duggan, John Shoven, a senior fellow emeritus and former director of SIEPR, and Jim Poterba, a SIEPR Advisory Board member, Professor at MIT, and President of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Since the program's founding in 2010, the SIEPR Prize has been awarded to Paul Volcker, a former Federal Reserve chairman; Martin Feldstein, a Harvard professor and former chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors; Stanley Fischer, former governor of the Bank of Israel, and vice chairman of the Federal Reserve; Alice Rivlin, a former vice chair of the Federal Reserve Board, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, and founding director of the Congressional Budget Office; and Bill Bradley, the former U.S. senator who spearheaded a bipartisan effort to reform the U.S. tax code.

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