Leontief Prize

Leontief Prize for Advancing
the Frontiers of Economic Thought

The Leontief Prize, in memory of Wassily Leontief, is designed to recognize outstanding contributions to economic theory that address contemporary realities and support just and sustainable societies. Since establishing the Leontief Prize in 2000, GDAE has awarded the prize to numerous distinguished economists including Amartya Sen, John Kenneth Galbraith, and Herman E. Daly. To learn more about our recipients, the events, and some of their lectures, please follow the links below.

Previous Leontief Award Recipients

2000  Amartya Sen and John Kenneth Galbraith
2001  Herman E. Daly and Paul P. Streeten
2002 – Alice Amsden and Dani Rodrik
2004 – Robert Frank and Nancy Folbre
2005 – Ha-Joon Chang and Richard R. Nelson
2006 – Juliet Schor 
and Samuel Bowles
2007 – Stephen DeCanio
 and Jomo Kwame Sundaram
2008 – José Antonio Ocampo 
and Robert Wade
2010 – Bina Agarwal 
and Daniel Kahneman
2011 – Nicholas Stern 
and Martin Weitzman
2012 – Michael Lipton 
and C. Peter Timmer
2013 – Albert O. Hirschman 
and Frances Stewart
2014 – Angus Deaton 
and James K. Galbraith
Duncan Foley and Lance Taylor
2016 – Amit Bhaduri 
and Diane Elson
2017 – James Boyce and Joan Martinez-Alier
2018 – Mariana Mazzucato 
and Branko Milanovic

The Global Development And Environment Institute established the Leontief Prize in memory of Wassily Leontief, our friend and, from 1993 until his much regretted death in 1999, a member of our external advisory board. It is designed to recognize

outstanding contributions to economic theory
that address contemporary realities
and support just and sustainable societies.

Wassily Leontief is best known for the single, powerful methodological advance which earned him a Nobel Prize in 1973: the invention of input-output analysis. In talking with Wassily, and in reading his work, it was always clear that he perceived his special contribution within an even larger framework.

He was deeply concerned that economics maintain a proper balance between theoretical and empirical analysis. He cared a lot about facts — the visible wrinkles on the otherwise invisible fabric of Truth. He had no patience for beautiful abstractions without application: his lifetime work was based on an unwavering assumption, that the purpose of economics is to be useful. Being useful meant making it possible for human beings to interact with the physical world in ways that would better the human condition.

Leontief’s most concrete influence on the Global Development And Environment Institute grew out of his ongoing relationship with his natal Russia. He encouraged us to develop an introductory economics textbook for that country, whose history has in no way prepared it to use simple translations of U.S. economics texts. With Wassily’s encouragement we worked with Russian economists, as well as with Kelvin Lancaster and Thomas Weisskopf in the U.S., to provide an introduction to market economics that takes account of Russia’s reality. The resulting textbook was published in Russia in 2002 and has been revised for use in other countries as well.