Press release

WZB honors Daron Acemoglu for his research on prosperity and political stability

A.SK Social Science Award 2023 for American economist – Ceremony in Berlin on November 14th

The economist Daron Acemoglu receives the A.SK Social Science Award 2023. With the award, the WZB Berlin Social Science Center recognizes his research on determinants of prosperity and political stability of economies. With a prize money of 100,000 euros, the A.SK Award is one of the most highly endowed awards in the social sciences worldwide. This year, for the first time, the work of two younger social researchers will also be recognized. Filiz Garip (Princeton University) and Stefanie Stantcheva (Harvard University) will receive “A.SK Bright Mind Awards”, each worth 20,000 euros.

Daron Acemoglu researches and teaches as a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). For thirty years, he has studied the historical origins of wealth and poverty and the impact of new technologies on economic growth, employment, and inequality. In his work he shows that it is not, as is often assumed, geography, climate and culture that determine the prosperity of a country. Rather, stable social institutions are needed. This means, among other things, secure property rights, a neutral legal system, and public services that create fair conditions for everyone.

In his book “Why Nations Fail”, he develops a theory of how good and inclusive institutions promote growth by stimulating investment and innovation and giving all people the opportunity to put their talents to good use. In his book “Power and Progress”, published in 2023, he devotes himself to technical change and shows that the benefits of progress only accrue to a few. This inequality threatens not least democracy. Also with regard to artificial intelligence, he therefore advocates strong control of the market by the state.

Daron Acemoglu was born in Istanbul in 1967. He received his PhD from the London School of Economics in 1992. He has been researching and teaching in the United States since 1993. He is one of the most successful and most cited economists worldwide.

Filiz Garip, Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University, researches migration and how networks and social factors shape inequality and life courses. Tax policy is the focus of Stefanie Stantcheva, Nathaniel Ropes Professor of Political Economy at Harvard University. She investigates the long-term effects of the tax system on a country's education, innovative power, and prosperity.

The A.SK Social Science Award, donated by the Chinese entrepreneur couple Angela and Shu Kai Chan, has been awarded every two years by the WZB since 2007. The award is given to researchers from the social sciences who have made an important contribution to political and economic reforms. Previous winners have been Sir Anthony Atkinson, Martha Nussbaum, Transparency International, Paul Collier, Esther Duflo, John Ruggie, Raj Chetty, and James C. Scott.