Professor, Economics Department, University of Chicago
Steven Levitt is a tenured professor in the University of Chicago's economics department (he received tenure after only two years) and was the 2003 recipient of the American Economic Association’s prestigious John Bates Clark Medal, given to the country's best economist under 40. When Stephen Dubner (co-author of Freakonomics, SuperFreakonomics, Think Like A Freak and When To Rob a Bank) profiled Levitt in The New York Times Magazine, he was beset by questions, queries, riddles and requests—from General Motors and the New York Yankees and U.S. senators but also from prisoners and parents and a man who sold bagels. Originally published in the U.S. in 2005, Freakonomics instantly became a cultural phenomenon. Hailed by critics and readers alike, it went on to spend more than eight years on The New York Times bestseller list, having sold more than seven million copies around the world, in more than 40 countries. Steven Levitt has an enormous curiosity and is set on course by personal experiences and the incongruities he sees in everyday life. He is an intuitionist. He sifts through a pile of data to find a story that no one else has found and devises ways to measure an effect that veteran economists have declared un-measurable.