Thursday, October 11, 2001

Remember 9-11-01

Nobel Prize-winning economist A. Michael Spence,
a part-time Maui resident, sees only temporary
economic fallout from the Sept. 11 attacks.
Spence shares the award with two other
economists for their theory on
"asymmetric information."

A Nobel

New prize-winner Michael Spence
predicts an early turnaround
for Hawaii's economy

Associated Press

WAILEA >> One of the new Nobel Prize winners for economics predicted yesterday that travel to Hawaii is likely to rebound faster than the national economy.

The U.S. economy was slowing even before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, noted Stanford University economist A. Michael Spence, who has a home on Maui.

He estimated any economic fallout from the attacks will be temporary.

Spence shared the Nobel Prize with economists George Akerlof of the University of California, Berkeley, and Joseph E. Stiglitz at Columbia University for developing ways to measure the power of information in a wide range of deals and investments, from used car sales to the recent boom and bust of high-tech stocks.

Spence had planned to spend the day windsurfing off Maui but instead met with reporters after a colleague monitoring the Nobel Web site phoned at 3:30 a.m. to tell him he won the prize.

It took another six hours for the Nobel Committee to track him down -- he and his wife, Monica, split their time between their condominium on Maui and their home on the Stanford campus in Palo Alto, Calif.

A member of the committee in Stockholm, Sweden, finally called him with the official notification at 9:30 a.m.

"I was stunned at first, then numb," said Spence, a professor emeritus at Stanford who was the dean of the university's Graduate School of Business until 1999.

Spence will get one-third of the economics prize, worth $943,000.

"It's really quite wonderful. It changes your life," he said "Having the prize gives you the opportunity to talk about things you think are important."

Spence's award was based on the theory of "asymmetric information" which has given experts an important tool for gauging how players with differing amounts of information influence financial markets and everyday transactions.

Spence noted that the plane he and his wife flew from San Francisco to Hawaii last week was nearly full.

He said Americans immediately after the attacks were reacting to uncertainty.

Once they lose that uncertainty, they will start going about their business again, including traveling to Hawaii, he said.

The Spences fly to Maui for a week or two every other month.

The Nobel Prize caused cancellation of dinner plans the couple had with Maui environmental lawyer Isaac Hall and his wife because Spence had to return to California yesterday evening.

Spence, who was raised in Winnipeg, Canada, played hockey with Hall as an undergraduate at Princeton University.

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