Amy N. Finkelstein, a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has won the John Bates Clark Medal, the American Economic Association announced on Friday. Calling Ms. Finkelstein the leading scholar of health economics and one of the most accomplished applied micro-economists of her generation, the award committee lauded her research as “a model of how theory and empirics can be combined in creative ways” and lead to unexpected insights that can inform policy.
Ms. Finkelstein and colleagues have studied the disproportionately large effect that the establishment of Medicare has had on hospital visits and medical spending, suggesting that about half of the increase in per-capita spending on health from 1950 to 1990 could be traced to the spread of insurance.
Ms. Finkelstein also drew notice in 2007 for being the only woman out of 25 faculty members to be granted tenure at MIT that year. She teaches courses on public economics and economic research and communication.
The John Bates Clark Medal recognizes economists who are judged to have made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge before age 40; Ms. Finkelstein is 38. Previous winners include Paul A. Samuelson, Milton Friedman, Joseph E. Stiglitz, Paul R. Krugman, Lawrence H. Summers, and Steven Levitt.