James M. Poterba

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James M. Poterba
Born (1958-07-13) July 13, 1958 (age 59)
Nationality American
Institution Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Field Public economics
Alma mater University of Oxford
Harvard University
David Cutler
Luigi Zingales[1]
Andrew Samwick
Caroline Hoxby[2]
Steven Levitt[3]
Emmanuel Saez[4]
Amy Finkelstein[5]
Influences Martin Feldstein
Awards NAS Award for Scientific Reviewing (1997)
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

James Michael "Jim" Poterba, FBA (born July 13, 1958) is an American economist, Mitsui Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and current NBER president and chief executive officer.

Early years[edit]

Poterba was born in New York City. He completed his A.B., summa cum laude, in 1980 from Harvard University and completed his Ph.D. in 1983 from University of Oxford. He was a Marshall Scholar.

Academic career[edit]

Poterba started his career as an Instructor in Economics at MIT. He became Professor of Economics at MIT in 1988. Today, he is the Mitsui Professor of Economics and the Head of the MIT Economics Department. He became the president of the National Bureau of Economic Research on July 1, 2008.


Poterba is known for his research on how taxation affects the economic decisions of households and firms. His research has emphasized the effect of taxation on the financial behavior of households, particularly their saving and portfolio decisions. He is also interested in the analysis of tax-deferred retirement saving programs such as 401(k) plans and in the role of annuities in financing retirement consumption.

He has also been Director of the NBER Public Economics Research Program since 1991. He has served as a member of the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform and edited the Journal of Public Economics, the leading international journal for research on taxation and government spending, between 1997 and 2006. He has edited several economics journals.


He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1996.[6] In 1999 Poterba was awarded the NAS Award for Scientific Reviewing from the National Academy of Sciences.[7]

In July 2017, Poterba was elected a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy (FBA), the United Kingdom's national academy for the humanities and social sciences.[8]


  1. ^ Zingales, Luigi (1992). The value of corporate control (Ph.D.). MIT. Retrieved 8 December 2016. 
  2. ^ Markets and schooling : the effects of competition from private schools, competition among public schools, and teachers' unions on elementary and secondary schooling
  3. ^ Four essays in positive political economy
  4. ^ Saez, Emmanuel (1999). Essays on the economics of income taxation (Ph.D.). MIT. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  5. ^ Finkelstein, Amy (2001), Adverse selection and government intervention in life and health insurance markets. Ph.D. dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  6. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter P" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  7. ^ "NAS Award for Scientific Reviewing". National Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on 18 March 2011. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  8. ^ "Elections to the British Academy celebrate the diversity of UK research". British Academy. 2 July 2017. Retrieved 29 July 2017. 

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