Prof. Amir Sufi awarded Fischer Black Prize honoring top finance scholar under 40

Amir Sufi, the Bruce Lindsay Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, has been awarded the 2017 Fischer Black Prize by the American Finance Association.

Honored for his groundbreaking research on household debt and the financial crisis, Sufi received the award Jan. 7 at the annual meeting of the American Finance Association.

Recognizing the top finance scholar under the age of 40, the Fischer Black Prize honors the memory of Fischer Black, formerly a general partner at Goldman Sachs and a professor at Chicago Booth and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, whose seminal research included the development (with Myron Scholes) of the widely applied Black-Scholes Option Pricing Model.

Established in 2002, the biennial prize honors individual financial research and is awarded for a body of work that best exemplifies the Fischer Black hallmark of developing original research that is relevant to finance practice.

Sufi’s research on household debt, the Great Recession, consumption and the economy has been publicized widely and has been presented to policymakers at the Federal Reserve, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs, and the White House Council of Economic Advisors.

His body of recent research on debt forms the basis of his book co-authored with Atif Mian: House of Debt: How They (and You) Caused the Great Recession and How We Can Prevent It from Happening Again, which was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2014. The book made the Financial Times shortlist for “Best Business Book of the Year” in 2014.

Sufi and his co-author reveal in House of Debt how the Great Recession and Great Depression, as well as the current economic malaise in Europe, were caused by a large run-up in household debt followed by a significantly large drop in household spending.

"We are delighted that Amir has been recognized in this way. His work on debt markets and particularly the role of household debt in the financial crisis is truly path-breaking, and continues to have important implications for the U.S. economy,” said Douglas Skinner, interim dean of Chicago Booth.

“It is remarkable that, of the seven times this award has been given since its inception in 2003, Booth faculty have won three times.”

Other Booth recipients of the prize include Prof. Raghuram Rajan, who was awarded the inaugural prize in 2003; and former Booth faculty member Tobias Moskowitz, who taught at Booth from 1998-2016 and received the prize in 2007.

Sufi has been a member of the Booth faculty since 2005.