David Wise, Distinguished Fellow 2011

David A. Wise is the John F. Stambaugh Professor of Political Economy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, where he has taught since 1973. He has served as director of NBER's Economics of Aging and the Health Economics Programs and is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution

Wise is the complete applied microeconomist. He has made fundamental contributions to labor economics, the economics of education, health economics, and public economics. Several of his papers have influenced public policy, and several contain important methodological advances.

Much of Wise’s early work is in labor economics and applied econometrics. Particularly noteworthy are his 1975 Econometrica and AER papers on personal attributes, academic achievement and career success, which grew out of his prize winning PhD dissertation, a set of papers on labor supply based on the negative income tax experiments, and innovative studies of minimum wage effects. He won the Frisch medal for his 1979 Econometrica paper on the treatment of attrition bias in panel data (with Jerry Hausman). His heavily cited book, College Choice in America (with Charles Manski), transformed research on this topic.

Since the mid eighties, Wise had been a leading researcher on a wide range of subjects related to health and aging. The modeling approach in his heavily cited 1990 Econometrica paper on the effects of pensions on retirement (with James Stock) has been adopted in many other studies. Also particularly noteworthy are a series of papers on the effects of IRAs, 401(k) and other retirement saving incentives on savings, the tax treatment of pensions, retirement incentives, and employer provided health insurance plans. Several of these papers have helped to shape public policy.

Wise’s contributions extend well beyond his own papers. As director of NBER’s Economics of Aging and Health Economics Programs, Wise has played an indispensable role in promoting high quality, policy relevant research and in helping shape the careers of junior scholars. He has led a number of large projects and edited 22 NBER volumes on various topics, many of which are heavily cited both in academic circles and in the public policy arena.

In addition the Frisch medal, Wise has received are the TIAA-CREF Samuelson Award, a MERIT Award from the National Institute on Aging (1989) and the Frisch Medal from the Econometric Society (1980), and is a fellow of the Econometric Society. He is truly a “Distinguished Scholar” who deserves recognition from the American Economic Association.