A. Michael Spence is the Chairman of an Independent Commission on Growth in Developing Countries, Professor Emeritus of Management in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford. In 2001, Spence received the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.
He served as dean of the Stanford Business School from 1990 to 1999. As dean, he oversaw the finances, organization, and educational policies of the school.
Spence earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy at Princeton summa cum laude and was selected for a Rhodes Scholarship. He was awarded a B.S.-M.A. from Oxford in mathematics and earned his Ph.D. in economics at Harvard. He taught at Stanford as an Associate Professor of Economics from 1973 to 1975. From 1975 to 1990, he served as professor of Economics and Business Administration at Harvard, holding a joint appointment in the Business School and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. In 1983 he was named chairman of the Economics Department and George Gund Professor of Economics and Business Administration. Spence was awarded the John Kenneth Galbraith Prize for excellence in teaching and the John Bates Clark medal for a "significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge." The Clark Medal used to be awarded every two years to an economist under the age of 40.
From 1984 to 1990, Spence served as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard, overseeing Harvard College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the Division of Continuing Education.
Spence serves on the boards of Genpact and Mercadolibre, and a number of private companies. He is a member of the board of the Stanford Management Company, and the International Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation. He is a Senior Advisor to Oak Hill Investment Management and a consultant to PIMCO.