6th Calvó-Armengol Prize to be awarded to Ben Golub (Harvard)


Professor Golub has been chosen for his deep, foundational, and timely work on how the structure of people's social connections determines their opinions and behaviors.

The Barcelona School of Economics, in cooperation with the Government of Andorra, is pleased to announce that the sixth Calvó-Armengol International Prize in Economics will be awarded to Benjamin Golub.

Benjamin Golub is Associate Professor of Economics at Harvard University. He has been a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and a Prize Fellow in Economics, History, and Politics at Harvard and MIT and a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Golub earned his Bachelor's in Mathematics from Caltech in 2007 and his PhD from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University in 2012.

The Prize Selection Committee members were Professors Salvador Barberà, Marianne Bertrand, Antonio Cabrales, and Joel Sobel (committee members Esther Duflo and Matthew O. Jackson recused themselves after an assessment of the nominees). The committee states that Professor Golub "has made important contributions to the study of economic networks. He approaches social interactions in a way that is closely related to Toni Calvó's work. Although primarily a theorist, Professor Golub's research always contains strong substantive motivations. He uses game-theoretic, statistical, and experimental methods in his work."

Professor Golub shared his reaction to being selected for the Prize via social media. "Toni's beautiful work and the community he helped found—sustained by his friends and collaborators Yves Zenou, Matthew Jackson, Antonio Cabrales, Yannis Ioannides, Andrea Prat and others—have been hugely important to me, and so a recognition that honors his memory is very meaningful," he wrote via Twitter.

Professor Golub will officially receive the Calvó Prize in Spring 2020. Activities related to the Prize include an award ceremony in Andorra, homeland of Toni Calvó, and an academic conference in Barcelona, where Prof. Calvó spent much of his research career. The Prize also includes a cash award of €30,000. 

You are who you know

Much of Golub's work focuses on how social connections determine learning. A central question in this literature is what conditions on network structure will lead agents to learn efficiently. Professor Golub and his coauthors study the implications of plausible, but naive, learning rules. He is one of the most prominent contributors to a literature aimed at identifying how distributions of power and social connections determine whether a society will reach a consensus opinion on a given topic, such as climate change, the value of vaccinations, or foreign policy, and under which circumstances that consensus will be correct.

An example of his work can be seen in the paper "Combating Rumors: Evidence from a Field Experiment During the Indian Demonetization" (with Emily Breza, Abhijit Banerjee and Arun Chandrasekhar), which Professor Golub presented at the BSE Summer Forum in 2017:

Prize background

The Calvó-Armengol International Prize memorializes Antoni Calvó-Armengol, who passed away in 2007 at 37 years of age. A native of Andorra, Calvó was a professor at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and the BSE who made outstanding contributions in social economics.

The Calvó Prize is awarded every two years to an economist or other social scientist who is not older than 40 years old, for his or her contributions to the understanding of social structure and its implications for economic interactions. 

Previous recipients of the Calvó Prize:

Press release

Download the press release for the Prize announcement:

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