Peter A. Diamond, Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and one of the world’s leading economists, received the 2008 Robert M. Ball Award for Outstanding Achievements in Social Insurance on May 29, 2008.
“Peter’s career has been devoted to understanding the proper role of the government in the provision of social insurance and much, if not most, of the research now conducted in this field has been influenced in one way or another by the foundational work that Peter has done,” said Jonathan Gruber, chair of the event committee for the 2008 award reception.
Professor Diamond is an intellectual leader in social insurance theory. His path breaking analysis of annuities markets 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.
From his early pioneering work on social insurance theory through his important role in the debates over Social Security privatization, Diamond has always been at the forefront of both academic and policy issues related to social insurance. He is the nation’s leading academic expert on Social Security, the country’s largest social insurance program. His theoretical work has been central to the analysis of this program, and he has become one of the most outspoken defenders of the traditional defined benefit structure of the program.
Professor Diamond has taught economics at MIT since 1966 and was Chair of the Department from 1985 to 1986. From 1992 to 1997 he was the Paul A. Samuelson Professor of Economics at MIT. Before returning to MIT, Professor Diamond taught at the University of California–Berkeley. He participated on a panel on Social Security of the Congressional Research Service in 1975-76 and on the Expert Panels for the 1991 and 1995 Advisory Councils on Social Security. He was President of the Econometric Society and of the American Economic Association. Professor Diamond is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has published numerous papers and books. He received the Nemmers Prize in 1994.
He was chair of NASI’s Panel on Privatization of Social Security and co-chair of the Academy’s Seventh Annual Conference, "Social Security: What Role for the Future?" in 1995. He is a founding member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and served as President of the organization from October 1994 to March 1997 and chair of the board from 1996-1997.
Professor 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, MA with his wife, Kate, and has two sons, Matt and Andy.