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MIT economics professor awarded Bates Clark medal

WASHINGTON - MIT professor Amy Finkelstein is the winner of the John Bates Clark Medal awarded annually to an economist under the age of 40, the American Economic Association said Friday.

“Finkelstein is the leading scholar in health economics and one of the most accomplished applied microeconomists of her generation,’’ the association’s awards committee said on the group’s website.

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The 38-year-old received a doctorate in economics from Cambridge-based Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2001. She did her undergraduate work at Harvard University, where she majored in government, then went on to get a master’s in economics from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

Her research has focused on health insurance markets, including the impact that government intervention has on them.

The John Bates Clark Medal, started in 1947 as a biennial prize, is now being awarded annually. It is named after the US economist who died in 1938 after spending most of his career teaching at Columbia University.

Past winners include the late Milton Friedman, New York Times columnist and Princeton University professor Paul Krugman, and Lawrence Summers, former director of President Obama’s National Economic Council. Finkelstein is the third woman to receive the award in the past five years. Stanford University professor Jonathan Levin won it last year for his work on industrial organization.

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