University of Chicago Press honors Prof. Amir Sufi for book on Great Recession

Economist wins Gordon J. Laing Prize for House of Debt

Amir Sufi at Laing reception
Prof. Amir Sufi speaks with President Robert J. Zimmer (left) and University of Chicago Press Director Garrett Kiely (right) during an April 21 reception for the Gordon J. Laing Prize.
Photo by
Robert Kozloff

The University of Chicago Press has awarded the 2016 Gordon J. Laing Prize to Prof. Amir Sufi, who co-authored House of Debt: How They (and You) Caused the Great Recession and How We Can Prevent It from Happening Again.

Sufi, the Bruce Lindsay Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Chicago Booth, received the honor during an April 21 reception at the Quadrangle Club. The Gordon J. Laing Prize is awarded annually to the faculty author, editor or translator of a book published in the previous three years that has brought the Press the greatest distinction.

“Taking a close look at the financial crisis and housing bust of 2008, House of Debt digs deep into economic data to show that it wasn’t the banks themselves that caused the crisis to be so bad—it was an incredible increase in household debt in the years leading up to it that, when the crisis hit, led consumers to dramatically pull back on their spending,” the Press wrote in announcing the award. “Understanding those underlying causes, the authors argue, is key to figuring out not only exactly how the crisis happened, but how we can prevent its recurrence in the future.”

Originally published in May 2014, the book has received extensive praise in publications including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Financial Times, Economist and the New York Review of Books. It was co-authored by Prof. Atif Mian of Princeton University.

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