Michael Kremer

Michael Robert Kremer (born November 12, 1964)[2] is an American development economist who is the Gates Professor of Developing Societies at Harvard University. In 2019 it was announced that he will be jointly awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, together with Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee,[3] "for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty."[4]

Michael Kremer
Michael Robert Kremer

(1964-11-12) November 12, 1964
EducationHarvard University (BA, MA, PhD)
AwardsNobel Prize in Economics (2019)
Scientific career
FieldsDevelopment economics
Health economics
InstitutionsHarvard University
Doctoral advisorRobert Barro
Doctoral studentsEdward Miguel[1]
InfluencedEsther Duflo

Early life and education

Kremer was born to a Jewish family; Son of Eugene and Sara Lillian (née Kimmel) Kremer. His father, Eugene Kremer was the son of Jewish immigrants to the US from Austria-Poland. His mother, Sara Lillian Kremer was a professor of English literature, who specialized in American Jewish and Holocaust literature. Her parents were Jewish immigrants to the US from Poland.[5]

He graduated from Harvard University (A.B. in Social Studies in 1985 and Ph.D. in Economics in 1992).[6] He was a postdoc at Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1992 to 1993, visiting assistant professor at the University of Chicago in Spring 1993, and professor at MIT from 1993 to 1999. Since 1999, he has been a professor at Harvard.[7]


Kremer has focused his research on poverty reduction, often as it relates to education economics and health economics.[8] Working with Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo (with whom he shared the 2019 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics), he helped establish the effectiveness of randomized controlled trials to test proposed antipoverty measures.[9] Describing Kremer’s early use of pioneering experimental methods, Duflo said that Kremer “was there from the very beginning, and took enormous risks . . . . He is a visionary.”[10]

Kremer is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship (1997)[11] and a Presidential Faculty Fellowship, and was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He is a research affiliate at Innovations for Poverty Action, a New Haven, Connecticut-based research outfit dedicated to creating and evaluating solutions to social and international development problems. Kremer is a member of Giving What We Can, an international society for the promotion of poverty relief.[12] He is founder and president of WorldTeach, a Harvard-based organization which places college students and recent graduates as volunteer teachers on summer and year-long programs in developing countries around the world. He is also co-founder of Precision Agriculture for Development (PAD), a non-profit organization that leverages the global emergence of the mobile phone to provide digital agronomic advisory services to smallholder farmers at scale.[13]

Kremer started the advanced market commitment, which focuses on creating incentive mechanisms to encourage the development of vaccines for use in developing countries, and the use of randomized trials to evaluate interventions in the social sciences. He created the well-known economic theory regarding skill complementarities called Kremer's O-Ring Theory of Economic Development.[14] In 2000, Kremer, along with Charles Morcom, published a study recommending that governments fight elephant poaching by stockpiling ivory and so that they can proactively flood the market if elephant populations decline too severely.[15]

In his widely cited paper ' Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990 ' Kremer studied economic change over the last one million years.[16] He found that economic growth increased with population growth.

Kremer led a panel on the reformation of education systems at the International Growth Centre's Growth Week 2010.[17]

He is the husband of DFID chief economist Rachel Glennerster.


  1. "The political economy of education and health in Kenya / a thesis presented by Edward Andrew Miguel". Research Kenya. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
  2. U.S. Public Records Index Vol 1 & 2 (Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.), 2010.
  3. Wearden, Graeme (October 14, 2019). "Nobel Prize in Economics won by Banerjee, Duflo and Kremer". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved October 14, 2019.
  4. "The Prize in Economic Sciences 2019" (PDF) (Press release). Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. October 14, 2019.
  6. Aggarwal-Schifellite, Manisha (October 14, 2019). "Nobel in economic sciences awarded: Michael Kremer wins Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel". The Harvard Gazette.
  7. "Curriculum Vitae (Michael Kremer)" (PDF). Harvard University. Retrieved October 14, 2019.
  8. Wiseman, Paul; Ljubojevic, Aleksandar; LeBlanc, Steve (October 14, 2019). "3 economists who study poverty win Nobel Prize". apnews.com. Associated Press. The three winners, who have worked together, revolutionized developmental economics by pioneering field experiments that generate practical insights into how poor people respond to education, health care and other programs meant to lift them out of poverty.
  9. Cho, Adrian (October 14, 2019). "Economics Nobel honors trio taking an experimental approach to fighting poverty". Science.
  10. Smialek, Jeanna (October 14, 2019). "Nobel Economics Prize Goes to Pioneers in Reducing Poverty: Three professors, Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, both of M.I.T., and Michael Kremer of Harvard, were honored". The New York Times.
  11. "MacArthur Foundation". www.macfound.org. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  12. "Members". www.givingwhatwecan.org.
  13. "PAD". www.precisionag.org.
  14. Kremer, Michael (1993). "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development". Q. J. Econ. Oxford University Press. 108 (3): 551–575. doi:10.2307/2118400. JSTOR 2118400.
  15. Kremer, Michael; Morcom, Charles (March 2000). "Elephants". American Economic Review. 90 (1): 212–234. doi:10.1257/aer.90.1.212.
  16. Kremer, Michael (1993). "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990". The Quarterly Journal of Economics. 108 (3): 681–716. doi:10.2307/2118405. ISSN 0033-5533. JSTOR 2118405.
  17. "Growth Week 2010 – Summary" (PDF).


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