AEA Distinguished Service Award

The AEA Distinguished Service Award recognizes the volunteer efforts of individuals who have served the profession. This service may have been under the auspices of the AEA, but this is not required.

The award winner will be recognized annually at the ASSA meetings. Travel expenses to the meetings, up to $2,000, will be reimbursed. 

2023 Award Winner

Christopher F. Baum, Boston College

Christopher (“Kit”) Baum is a Professor of Economics at Boston College. He obtained his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Michigan in 1977.

With this award, the AEA wishes to recognize Christopher (“Kit”) Baum for his multi-decade volunteering effort to promote open-source repositories, transparency, and reproducibility within the profession.

Kit established the Statistical Software Components (SSC) archive in 1997 and has been the custodian of this archive ever since. SSC is a repository containing user-written software for statistical analysis. SSC has made it possible for software users to easily access programming packages, such as data management utilities, estimation routines, as well as post-estimation and output processing routines.

When you type ssc describe <packagename>, or ssc install <packagename> in Stata, and all your problems go away, this is all thanks to Kit!

The number of programming packages on SSC now stands at more than 3,000, with a per-month average of over 300 hits per package. Kit’s setting up and maintaining of SSC have made and continue to make a massive contribution to the empirical research community worldwide and have helped democratize access to methods at the frontier of econometrics.

Rules and Eligibility

A nominee must be a current member of the AEA. The service contribution should impact the field of economics in a significant and positive way on a national scale. The length of service time is not as important as the impact of one or several activities. The service to be recognized may comprise a variety of activities, but must be beyond that of a single institution and impactful on a national scale. While this award is conferred by the AEA, it is not expected that service be limited to AEA supported activities.

Nomination and Selection Process

Nomination requires:

  1. A nomination letter of no more than 500 words. Self-nominations are not accepted.
  2. Nominee’s professional Vita, not to exceed 5 pages.
  3. At least 3 but no more than 5 letters of support from individuals or groups that are familiar with the nominee’s work. Letters should not exceed two pages.

The portal for nominations will open in April. Nominations are due by October 1. Nominees who are not selected are automatically placed in the pool of nominees for the subsequent year for a period of three years. Nomination packets will not need to be resubmitted, but any (brief) updates to materials are welcome. 

Previous Winners

2022 | Christopher “Kitt” Carpenter, Vanderbilt University

Kitt Carpenter is the inaugural recipient of the AEA’s Distinguished Service Award. He is the E. Bronson Ingram University Distinguished Professor of Economics and Health Policy at Vanderbilt University, Director of its Program in Public Policy Studies, and the Founder and Director of Vanderbilt’s LGBTQ+ Policy Lab. Carpenter is also Director of the NBER Health Economics Program, Editor at the Journal of Health Economics, a member of the National Advisory Council for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, President-Elect of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, and Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the American Economic Association’s Committee on the Status of LGBTQ+ Individuals in the Economics Profession (CSQIEP). He was named the 2021-22 Joseph A. Johnson, Jr., Distinguished Leadership Professor at Vanderbilt for his contributions to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Professor Carpenter has published widely on the effects of legal same-sex marriage, the causes and consequences of youth substance use, and the effects of public policies on health behaviors such as bicycle helmet use, seatbelt use, smoking, cancer screening, and vaccination. His research has been continuously supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the American Cancer Society. Professor Carpenter's colleagues, students, and the profession at large hold him in high esteem for his selfless and persistent efforts to foster a welcoming environment for all economists and others aspiring to join our ranks.