Nobel laureate Paul M. Romer, one of the most influential economists of this century, will join Boston College as the Seidner University Professor in the Carroll School of Management, beginning this fall.
Romer, a 2018 Nobel honoree, will launch the Carroll School’s new Center for the Economics of Ideas and join the faculty of the Finance Department, which is consistently ranked among the nation’s best undergraduate finance programs and among the most productive for faculty scholarship.
“Paul Romer's pioneering work spans economics, technology, urbanism, and a range of other fields–consistently challenging conventional wisdom and summoning up new ways of understanding fundamentals,” said Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley.
“He possesses a remarkable fluency across topics and ways of knowing. His scholarship and teaching, and his leadership of the new Center for the Economics of Ideas at Boston College, promise to expand on his pathbreaking accomplishments and open up new horizons to direct change for the common good.”
“I'm very excited about the course that Boston College is setting with the new Center for the Economics of Ideas. In the pursuit of progress, the market can be the vehicle, but the values of science, scholarship, and enlightenment must be the compass. We've got plenty of disruption. What's missing is direction.
The Seidner University Professorship was made possible through a gift from BC Trustee Marc Seidner ’88, and the Seidner family.
“I'm very excited about the course that Boston College is setting with the new Center for the Economics of Ideas,” said Romer, who joins BC following 13 years at New York University.
“In the pursuit of progress, the market can be the vehicle, but the values of science, scholarship, and enlightenment must be the compass. We've got plenty of disruption. What's missing is direction.”
Andy Boynton, the John and Linda Powers Family Dean of the Carroll School of Management, said the addition of Romer to a world-class faculty offers great opportunities for both Boston College and the Carroll School.
“Paul Romer is one of the most respected and accomplished economists in the world,” said Boynton. “By joining the Carroll School faculty community he provides an instant injection of large doses of imagination, intellect, and aspiration into every fiber of our culture. His palpable commitment to research and teaching will benefit all of our students and faculty, and our outstanding Finance Department, in particular, will continue its rapid ascent among the best in the world.”
Romer received the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel “for integrating technological innovations into long-run macroeconomic analysis.” He shared the prize with Yale University's William Nordhaus.
In honoring Romer, the Nobel Prize organization said his central contribution demonstrated how knowledge can function as a driver of long-term economic growth: Romer “showed how economic forces govern the willingness of firms to produce new ideas. His central theory, which was published in 1990, explains how ideas are different to other goods and require specific conditions to thrive in a market.”
“Paul Romer is one of the most respected and accomplished economists in the world. By joining the Carroll School faculty community he provides an instant injection of large doses of imagination, intellect, and aspiration into every fiber of our culture.”
Romer says that his lasting contribution was a framework for understanding the economics of ideas that parallels the traditional economics analysis of scarce physical objects.
“With each passing day, we read about advances in artificial intelligence, so it now seems obvious that how we produce and distribute ideas is far more important than how we produce and distribute physical objects,” said Romer. “But when I was in graduate school, economists could not identify the fundamental difference between ideas and objects. At a practical level, this meant that they could not see how the social capital of trust, slowly accumulated for generations, facilitated the distribution of ideas. As a result, they could not anticipate the damage a new business model based on tracking and targeted digital advertising could do by eroding the social trust.”
A native of Denver, Colorado, Romer studied at the University of Chicago, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.
“We are delighted and proud that Paul is joining our faculty group,” said Ronnie Sadka, chair of the Finance Department and Haub Family Professor in the Carroll School. “We take great pride in our exceptional teaching and research, while maintaining a positive collegial culture. The addition of Paul demonstrates our ongoing commitment to excellence, and will greatly enhance the Finance Department and the Carroll School as a whole.”
Finance is a banner discipline at the Carroll School and most recently ranked eighth in the U.S. News & World Report's annual survey. In the Academic Ranking of World Universities, also known as the Shanghai Ranking, the school placed seventh for finance globally.
The Carroll School of Management ranks among the nation’s best—with six academic departments and programs landing in the top 20 of their disciplines, according to the U.S. News survey of undergraduate schools of management in the U.S.
Ed Hayward | University Communications | May 2023