Andrei Shleifer

Last updated
Andrei Shleifer
Andrei Shleifer.jpg
Born (1961-02-20) February 20, 1961 (age 60)
Nationality Russian American
Institution Harvard University
University of Chicago
Field Behavioral finance
Law and economics
Development economics
Alma mater MIT
Harvard University
Peter A. Diamond [1]
Franklin M. Fisher [1]
Sendhil Mullainathan
Matthew Gentzkow
Jesse Shapiro
Emily Oster
Ulrike Malmendier
John Friedman
Influences Lawrence Summers
Milton Friedman [2]
Contributions Legal origins theory
Big push model
Awards John Bates Clark Medal (1999)
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Andrei Shleifer ( /ˈʃlfər/ SHLY-fər; born February 20, 1961) is a Russian-American economist and Professor of Economics at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1991. Shleifer was awarded the biennial John Bates Clark Medal in 1999 for his seminal works in three fields: corporate finance (corporate governance, law and finance), the economics of financial markets (deviations from efficient markets), and the economics of transition.


IDEAS/RePEc has ranked him as the top economist in the world, [3] and he is also listed as #1 on the list of "Most-Cited Scientists in Economics & Business". [4] He served as project director of the Harvard Institute for International Development's Russian aid project from its inauguration in 1992 until 1997, [5] where he and his associates made Russian investments, and settled a lawsuit from the U.S. government for such a violation of HIID's contract. [6]


He was born to a Jewish family [7] in the Soviet Union and emigrated to Rochester, New York, as a teenager in 1976, where he attended an inner-city school and learned English from episodes of Charlie's Angels . [8] He then studied mathematics, obtaining his B.A. from Harvard University in 1982. [9] Following this, he went to graduate school in economics, acquiring his Ph.D. from MIT in 1986. As a freshman at Harvard, Shleifer took Math 55 with Brad DeLong; he has said that the course made him realize he was not destined to be a mathematician, but the experience gave him a future co-author. [8] Shleifer also met his mentor and professor, Lawrence Summers, during his undergraduate education at Harvard. The two went on to be co-authors, joint grant recipients, and faculty colleagues. [5]

He has held a tenured position in the Department of Economics at Harvard University since 1991 and was, from 2001 through 2006, the Whipple V. N. Jones Professor of Economics. [10] Previously, he taught at the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago and briefly at Princeton University.


Shleifer's earliest work was in financial economics, where he has contributed to the field of behavioral finance. He has also written influential papers on political economy, the economics of transition, and economic development, collaborating with his former colleagues in Chicago, Kevin M. Murphy and Robert W. Vishny. Their paper "Industrialization and the Big Push" was credited by Paul Krugman as a major breakthrough which ended a "long slump in development theory". [11]

With coauthors Rafael La Porta, Simeon Djankov and Florencio Lopez de Silanes, Shleifer has also made significant contributions to the study of corporate governance.

In recent years, his research has focused on the legal origins theory (also sometimes known as law and finance theory), which claims that the legal tradition a country adheres to (such as common law or various types of civil law) is an important determining factor for a country's development, most of all financial development.

The Clark medal citation described him as a "superb economist, working in the old Chicago tradition of building simple models, emphasizing basic economic mechanisms, and carefully looking at the evidence.... A recurring theme of his research is the respective role of markets, institutions, and governments." [12]

Asset management

In 1994 Shleifer founded with fellow academics—and behavioral finance specialists—Josef Lakonishok and Robert Vishny a Chicago-based money management firm known as LSV Asset Management. As of February 2006, it managed about $50 billion in quantitative value equity portfolios, though, according to the firm's website, Shleifer has sold his ownership stake. [13]


During the early 1990s, Andrei Shleifer headed a Harvard project under the auspices of the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) that invested U.S. government funds in the development of Russia's economy. Schleifer was also a direct advisor to Anatoly Chubais, then vice-premier of Russia, who managed the Rosimushchestvo (Russian : росимущество, lit. 'Russian assets' or Committee for the Management of State Property) portfolio and was a primary engineer of Russian privatization. Shleifer was also tasked with establishing a stock market for Russia that would be a world-class capital market. [14] In 1996 complaints about the Harvard project led Congress to launch a General Accounting Office investigation, which stated that the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) was given "substantial control of the U.S. assistance program.” [15]

In 1997, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) canceled most of its funding for the Harvard project after investigations showed that top HIID officials Andrei Shleifer and Jonathan Hay had used their positions and insider information to profit from investments in the Russian securities markets. Among other things, the Institute for a Law Based Economy (ILBE) was allegedly used to assist Shleifer's wife, Nancy Zimmerman, who operated a hedge fund which speculated in Russian bonds. [14]

In August 2005, Harvard University, Shleifer and the Department of Justice reached an agreement under which the university paid $26.5 million to settle the five-year-old lawsuit. Shleifer was also responsible for paying $2 million worth of damages, though he did not admit any wrongdoing. [10] [16]


Related Research Articles

An economist is a professional and practitioner in the social science discipline of economics.

Rüdiger Dornbusch was a German economist who worked in the United States for most of his career.

Lawrence Summers American economist, Secretary of the Treasury, college administrator, and U.S. government official

Lawrence Henry Summers is an American economist who served as the 71st United States Secretary of the Treasury from 1999 to 2001 and as the 8th Director of the National Economic Council from 2009 to 2010. He is a former president of Harvard University (2001–2006), where he is currently a professor and director of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

Paul Samuelson American economist (1915–2009)

Paul Anthony Samuelson was an American economist, who was the first American to win the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. When awarding the prize in 1970, the Swedish Royal Academies stated that he "has done more than any other contemporary economist to raise the level of scientific analysis in economic theory". Economic historian Randall E. Parker has called him the "Father of Modern Economics", and The New York Times considers him to be the "foremost academic economist of the 20th century".

Law and economics or economic analysis of law is the application of economic theory to the analysis of law that began mostly with scholars from the Chicago school of economics. Economic concepts are used to explain the effects of laws, to assess which legal rules are economically efficient, and to predict which legal rules will be promulgated. There are two major branches of law and economics. The first branch is based on the application of the methods and theories of neoclassical economics to the positive and normative analysis of the law. The second branch focuses on an institutional analysis of law and legal institutions, with a broader focus on economic, political, and social outcomes. This second branch of law and economics thus overlaps more with work on political institutions and governance institutions more generally.

Paul Krugman American economist (born 1953)

Paul Robin Krugman is an American economist and public intellectual, who is Distinguished Professor of Economics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and a columnist for The New York Times. In 2008, Krugman was the sole winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to New Trade Theory and New Economic Geography. The Prize Committee cited Krugman's work explaining the patterns of international trade and the geographic distribution of economic activity, by examining the effects of economies of scale and of consumer preferences for diverse goods and services.

State ownership Ownership of an industry, asset, or enterprise by the state or a public body representing a community as opposed to an individual or private party

State ownership, also called government ownership and public ownership, is the ownership of an industry, asset, or enterprise by the state or a public body representing a community as opposed to an individual or private party. Public ownership specifically refers to industries selling goods and services to consumers and differs from public goods and government services financed out of a government's general budget. Public ownership can take place at the national, regional, local, or municipal levels of government; or can refer to non-governmental public ownership vested in autonomous public enterprises. Public ownership is one of the three major forms of property ownership, differentiated from private, collective/cooperative, and common ownership.

J. Bradford DeLong American economist

James Bradford "Brad" DeLong is an economic historian who is a professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley. DeLong served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury in the Clinton Administration under Lawrence Summers.

The legal origins theory claims that the two main legal traditions or origins, civil law and common law, crucially shape lawmaking and dispute adjudication and have not been reformed after the initial exogenous transplantation by Europeans. Therefore, they affect economic outcomes to date. According to the evidence reported by the initial proponents of such a theory, countries that received civil law would display today less secure investor rights, stricter regulation, and more inefficient governments and courts than those that inherited common law. These differences would reflect both a stronger historical emphasis of common law on private ordering and the higher adaptability of judge-made law.

Limits to arbitrage is a theory in financial economics that, due to restrictions that are placed on funds that would ordinarily be used by rational traders to arbitrage away pricing inefficiencies, prices may remain in a non-equilibrium state for protracted periods of time.

Oliver Hart (economist) American economist

Oliver Simon D'Arcy Hart is a British-born American economist, currently the Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor at Harvard University. Together with Bengt R. Holmström, he received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2016.

Robert Ward Vishny is an American economist and is the Myron S. Scholes Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He was the Eric J. Gleacher Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Raghuram Rajan Indian economist and former governor of Reserve Bank of India

Raghuram Govinda Rajan is an Indian economist and the Katherine Dusak Miller Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Between 2003 and 2006 he was Chief Economist and Director of Research at the International Monetary Fund. From September 2013 through September 2016 he was the 23rd Governor of the Reserve Bank of India; in 2015, during his tenure at the RBI, he became the Vice-Chairman of the Bank for International Settlements.

The MIT Department of Economics is a department of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Simeon Dyankov

Simeon Dyankov is a Bulgarian economist. From 2009 to 2013, he was the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Bulgaria in the government of Boyko Borisov. Prior to his cabinet appointment, Dyankov was a chief economist of the finance and private sector vice-presidency of the World Bank.

Maurice Obstfeld

Maurice Moses "Maury" Obstfeld is a professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley and previously Chief Economist at the International Monetary Fund. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Franklin Marvin Fisher was an American economist. He taught economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1960 to 2004.

Rafael La Porta is the Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney University Professor of Economics at Brown University. La Porta received his A.B. in economics at Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina in Argentina and his A.M. and Ph.D. in economics at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. La Porta served as a professor of economics at Harvard and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College before accepting a position at Brown. His research is primarily in corporate governance and investor protections across the world. He is the coauthor of the influential article "Law and Finance," which appeared in the Journal of Political Economy in December 1998.

The Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) was a think-tank dedicated to helping nations join the global economy, operating between 1974 and 2000. It was a center within Harvard University, United States.

Leximetrics is a field which attempts to rank the strength or weaknesses of laws, by assigning a numerical value to each type of law in a particular field. The law's numbers are then used to compare the efficacy of different legal systems, and how these numbers correlate with particular goals such as economic growth or employment.


  1. 1 2 Shleifer, Andrei (1986). The business cycle and the stock market (PDF) (Ph.D.). MIT . Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  2. Andrei Shleifer. "The Age of Milton Friedman" . Retrieved 2013-10-19.
  3. "Economist Rankings at IDEAS". Retrieved 2011-09-13.
  4. "Most-Cited Scientists in Economics & Business" Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine ISI Web of Knowledge
  5. 1 2 Wedel, Janine. Shadow Elite: How the World's New Power Brokers Undermine Democracy, Government, and the Free Market. New York: Basic, 2009.
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-08-27. Retrieved 2016-05-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. The Harvard Crimson: "Was Shleifer Screwed? - Sure, he had to pay a $2 million settlement—but he also got mad loot from Harvard" By Zachary M. Seward September 29, 2005
  8. 1 2 Bhayani, Paras D. (June 4, 2007). "Andrei Shleifer and J. Bradford DeLong". Harvard Crimson . Retrieved 2009-03-12.
  9. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-01-08. Retrieved 2014-01-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. 1 2 Bombardieri, Marcella (2006-10-14). "Harvard professor loses honorary title in ethics violation". Boston Globe .
  11. Paul Krugman. "The Fall and Rise of Development Economics" . Retrieved 2013-10-19.
  12. "Andrei Shleifer, Clark medal citation" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-30. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
  13. "How Harvard lost Russia". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-05-06.
  14. 1 2 "How Harvard Lost Russia". Institutional Investor. February 27, 2006. Archived from the original on July 5, 2014. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
  15. "Who Taught Crony Capitalism to Russia?". The Wall Street Journal Europe. March 19, 2001. Retrieved 2011-11-11.
  16. [ bare URL ]