Winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, Peter A. Diamond has been an active founding member of the National Academy of Social Insurance — serving as President of the Academy from October 1994 to March 1997, and as Chair of the Academy’s Board of Directors from 1996 to 1997. He continued to serve on the Academy’s Board of Directors until 2002.
The 2010 Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded to Professor Diamond, along with Dale T. Mortensen and Christopher A. Pissarides, for their work on job markets. Professor Diamond’s work explores why it takes so long for unemployed people to find jobs even when there are jobs available.
In April 2010, Professor Diamond was nominated by President Obama for a seat on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Bank. Fed chairman, Ben Bernanke, is a former student of Professor Diamond.
Professor Diamond won the Academy’s Robert M. Ball Award for Outstanding Contributions to Social Insurance in 2008. The Robert M. Ball Award Selection Committee recognized Professor Diamond as an intellectual leader in social insurance theory and commended his efforts to enhance our understanding of the proper role of government in the provision of social insurance.
“Peter is responsible for fundamental advances in both the theory and the practice of social insurance,” said MIT colleague and President of the National Bureau of Economic Research, James M. Poterba. "His creative and insightful economic models have framed the key issues and highlighted the trade-offs in program design. His numerous contributions to the public discussion of many social insurance programs have not only improved the analysis of those programs, but have also suggested critical directions for reform. The well-spring for these contributions is Peter’s deep commitment to using economic analysis to enhance public policy.”
Much of the research now conducted in the field of social insurance has been influenced by Professor Diamond’s foundational work. For example, his path-breaking analysis of pension design, occasionally working with James Mirrlees, provides the foundation for much of the current work on this topic. His general models of optimal social insurance program structure have spawned dozens of analyses. Professor Diamond has also become one of the most outspoken defenders of the traditional defined benefit structure of the Social Security program.
The Academy’s research programs have greatly benefited from Professor Diamond’s expertise and leadership. He served as Chair of the Academy’s Panel on Privatization of Social Security (1996-1998) and co-chair of the Academy’s seventh annual conference, "Social Security: What Role for the Future?" in 1995.
Diamond has been President of both the Econometric Society and of the American Economic Association. He served on expert panels for the 1991 and the 1995 Advisory Councils on Social Security, as well as on an expert panel on Social Security for the Congressional Research Service in 1975-1976.
Professor Diamond has taught economics at MIT since 1966. He was Chair of the Department from 1985 to 1986, and the Paul A. Samuelson Professor of Economics from 1992 to 1997, at which time he became an Institute Professor. Professor Diamond has also taught at the University of California–Berkeley. He received the Nemmers Prize in 1994.
Diamond received his B.A. in Mathematics summa cum laude from Yale University in 1960 and his Ph.D. in Economics from MIT in 1963. He lives in Lexington, Massachusetts with his wife, Kate; they have two sons, Matt and Andy. He and his wife spend as much of the summer as they can by Lake Sunapee, spending time both in and on the lake on every nice day. This spring, he enjoyed having “spring training” with his son Matt while preparing to throw out the first pitch at Fenway Park on April 20. He follows the Sox closely, including their minor league affiliates.

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