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NYT: Nobel Winnerís Frank Advice to Chinaís Leadership

Author: Jonathan Schlefer
February 21, 2014

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"While Mr. Spence has come away impressed with how 'curious and open' Chinese officials are, he also doesn't mince words about how serious China's problems are. With the global economy increasingly dependent on China, the danger is that the nation is 'on a collision course with its own growth model,' he said in an interview."

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A. Michael Spence won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science in 2001 for esoteric research on how people make decisions when critical information is hard to obtain. But by that time, after more than a decade and a half as an academic dean at Harvard and Stanford, many of Mr. Spence's colleagues had begun referring to him as a "former economist."

Mr. Spence, who turned 70 last year, begs to differ: He learned to become a better, "older" economist, he countered.

With his background in studying information, he began thinking about how the Internet, compressing time and distance, would strengthen supply chains around the world. In 2005, the World Bank asked him to give the keynote talk at its annual conference on poverty reduction. Worried that he had little useful to contribute, he balked. "Why would you want me?" he recalled asking.

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