Yrjö Jahnsson Award

2021 Award Recipients: Ricardo Reis and Silvana Tenreyro

Ricardo Reis and Silvana Tenreyro

Motivation: Ricardo Reis, A.W. Phillips Professor of Economics, LSE, and Silvana Tenreyro, Professor of Economics, LSE, and External MPC member, Bank of England, have both made important contributions to macroeconomics. This includes work on monetary economics, on inequality and macroeconomic outcomes, on fiscal policy and automatic stabilizers, and currency unions. Their work has had deep impact on macroeconomics and they have each individually also made important contributions to other fields.

Ricardo Reis was an early innovator in terms of introducing “sticky information” into macroeconomic modelling. In individual work and joint work with Gregory Mankiw, he pursued the idea that agents in the economy may be inattentive and face costs of acquiring and processing information that would allow them to adjust optimally to shocks to the economy. Through such inattentiveness, information spreads gradually through the economy helping explain a number of phenomena such as “excess sensitivity” and “excess smoothness” of consumption, and various aspects of inflation dynamics. In collaboration with Alisdair McKay, Reis has examined the impact of taxes and transfers as a source of automatic stabilizers in economies characterized by financial market incompleteness and frictions in price setting (HANK models). He has made other contributions to the field including important work on financial frictions and central bank design and policies.

Silvana Tenreyro has made important contributions respectively to monetary economics, macro development, and international economics. On the first subject, she devised new strategies to identify the role of nominal wage rigidity in monetary policy’s impact on economic activity. On the second topic, she produced seminal papers which illuminate the relationship between volatility and development, as well as their interaction with trade. One unifying idea underlying this work, is that both technological change and international trade help countries diversify macroeconomics shocks. On the third subject, in joint work with J.M.C. Santos Silva, Silvana has made a path-breaking methodological contribution which has changed the way trade empiricists estimate gravity equations. Her PPML method is now the standard method to estimate and interpret these equations. Another important line of work has stressed the importance of durables and investment matter for the conduct and impact of monetary policy as well as the links between wage contract staggering and monetary policy effectiveness.

Award Committee: Orazio Attanasio (Chair), Philippe Aghion, Oriana Bandiera, Morten Ravn, Hannu Vartiainen and Jaume Ventura.

Past Award Winners


Oriana Bandiera, LSE, and Imran Rasul, UCL & IFS, both applied microeconomists, for their work on the role of social relationships in economics, advanced through pioneering field experiments in the workplace and social networks, has provided salient contributions to economics, especially to the fields of personnel economics and development.

The classic principal-agent model treats agents in isolation, or, alternatively, as individuals engaging in perpetual competition. Work in sociology and social psychology suggests instead that people will consider the effect of their actions on others when responding to incentives. The issue is whether classic models should be amended to account for such social pressures.

In a series of field experiments, Bandiera and Rasul, joint with Barankay, aimed at estimating the causal effect of social relationships on incentives. They achieved this goal by introducing clever exogenous variation in the incentive structure offered to the workers picking “soft fruit” in the UK. They used this setting to explore a number of issues that until then had been studied only theoretically or in laboratory settings, such as social preferences, social incentives, the role of connections, the effect of inequality, the role of incentives for managers, and team incentives.

Bandiera and Rasul have also provided other novel empirical evidence on the role of social networks for technology adoption in a farming context, on the effectiveness of anti-poverty programs, and on the functioning of labor markets in low-income settings.

An important contribution of their work is that their experiments have become a role model for randomized control trials for incentive treatments and they have deeply influenced the applied microeconomics field. Their transformative work has inspired a generation of applied economists.

Award Committee: Orazio Attanasio, Armin Falk, Eliana La Ferrara, Kjetil Storesletten (Chair) and Hannu Vartiainen.


Ran Spiegler, of School of Economics, Tel Aviv University, and Department of Economics, University College London, for his important contributions to economic theory and bounded rationality. His investigation of new behavioral models has important implications for our understanding of industrial organization and consumer behaviour.


Michèle Tertilt, University of Mannheim, for her important contributions to family economics and household finance. Her work has uncovered the salient implications of gender roles for macroeconomics, development, and fertility. Her research has also contributed to our understanding of the development of consumer credit markets and default rates

Award Committee: Mark Armstrong (Co-Chair), Armin Falk, Hélène Rey (Co-Chair), Kjetil Storesletten and Hannu Vartiainen.


Botond Kőszegi for his contribution to the theoretical foundations of behavioral economics, and its application to public finance and contract theory. His influential research on reference- dependent preferences extends the concept of loss aversion by determining the reference point endogenously. The approach has been applied with success to a wide range of economic issues including auctions, firms' pricing behavior, labor supply and savings decisions, and risk preferences.

Award Committee: Fabrizio Zilibotti (Chair), Mark Armstrong, Timothy Besley, Hélène Rey and Juuso Välimäki.


Thomas PIiketty for his original contributions to public economics, specifically the study of inequality and mobility. His work which looks at long-run changes in inequality using data from tax records has uncovered important facts and provoked new debates which are influencing academic and policy discussions.


Hélène Rey for her original contributions to international finance, especially the determination of exchange rates and international capital flows. She has worked on and made significant progress in studying many of the big questions in international finance that have been pre-occupying economists and policy-makers.

Award Committee: Timothy Besley (Chair), Mathias Dewatripont, Rachel Griffith, Fabrizio Zilibotti and Juuso Välimäki


Armin Falk for his important contributions to the analysis of social preferences, in particular preferences for reciprocal fairness, and their impact on principal-agent relations, collective action and the functioning of labour markets

Award Committee: Ernst Fehr (Chair), Manuel Arellano, Mathias Dewatripont, Rachel Griffiths and Seppo Honkapohia.


John Van Reenen and Fabrizio Zilibotti for their important contributions to the analysis of technological innovation and its link with economic growth and labor market phenomena

Award Committee: Guido Tabellini (Chair), Manuel Arellano, Ernst Fehr, Seppo Honkapohia, Guy Laroque.


Gilles Saint-Paul for his innovative research on labour markets and political economy. Award Committee: Guido Tabellini (Chair), Seppo Honkapohja, Marco Pagano, Elhanan Helpman, Guy Laroque


Timothy Besley and Jordi Galí for their landmark contributions in development economics, public economics, and political economy, and for the development of the "New Keynesian" macroeconomics.

Award Committee: Richard Blundell (Chair), Elhanan Helpman, Salvador Barbera, Marco Pagano and Rune Stenbacka


Mathias Dewatripont for his path-breaking contributions to both pure and applied contract theory, and organization economics.

Award Committee: Kevin Roberts (Chair), Richard Blundell, Birgit Grodal, Pierre Pestieau and Rune Stenbacka


Philippe Aghion and Guido Tabellini for their contributions in political economics and macroeconomics as well as in corporate finance and industrial organisation.

Award Committee: Pierre Pestieau (Chair), Torsten Persson, Kevin Roberts, Rune Stenbacka and Jean Tirole.


Nobuhiro Kiyotaki and John Moore for their path-breaking work on contracting and exchange.

Award Committee: Martin Hellwig, Erkki Koskela, Torsten Persson, Richard Portes, Jean Tirole


Torsten Persson for his contributions to the study of economic policy. He has been able to study the connection between political institutions and economic performance with respect to growth, distribution and the size of government.

Award Committee: Martin Hellwig, Erkki Koskela, Stephen Nickell, Richard Portes, Agnar Sandmo


Richard Blundell for his pathbreaking contributions to consumption behaviour and microeconometrics.


Jean-Jacques Laffont and Jean Tirole for their innovative work in the application of economic theory to the analysis of incentives, especially in industrial economics.

Award Committee: Jacques Drèze, Michael Bruno, Erkki Koskela