The Journal of the Canadian Economics Association
La revue de l'association canadienne d'économique

The Harry Johnson Prize

The Canadian Economics Association awards the Harry G. Johnson Prize each year to the author or authors of the paper judged to be the best paper published in the Canadian Journal of Economics in the preceding calendar year.

The Prize is named in honour of distinguished Canadian economist Harry G. Johnson who died in 1977 at the age of 57. Harry Johnson was born in Toronto and obtained his B.A. degree in Political Economy from the University of Toronto in 1943. He then obtained his first academic appointment, as Acting Professor at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, where he stayed for one year. He served with the Canadian army in the latter stages of WWII, then returned to the University of Toronto in 1946 to do an M.A. degree. Johnson moved on to Harvard for his Ph.D. studies in economics, and subsequently held several distinguished academic appointments, most notably at the University of Chicago and at the London School of Economics. He also took the time to hold many visiting appointments in Canada over the years.

Harry Johnson produced a remarkably large quantity of highly influential research publications, particularly but not exclusively in international finance, international trade theory, and macroeconomics. In addition, he was a larger than life figure who is remembered for the enormous impact he had on the structure of economics graduate programs in Britain, the USA, and Canada, and also for his impact on the evolution of economics journals. Although he never held a permanent professorial appointment in Canada, he somehow managed to be the most academically influential and respected "Canadian" economist of the 1960s and early 1970s.

The Prize is awarded at the annual meetings of the Canadian Economics Association and is selected by a committee of three, who normally serve for three years each in overlapping terms. The prize was incepted in 1977 and has a cash value of $2,000.

Winner 2010

The winners of this year's Harry Johnson Prize for the year best article in the Canadian Journal of Economics in 2010 are Mathieu Crozet and Pamina Koenig for their article Structural Gravity Equations with Intensive and Extensive Margins in the February issue.

Gravity equations have played an important role in examinations of trade patterns since their introduction by Tinbergen. However, recent theoretical advances introducing firm heterogeneity in exporting (e.g., Chaney (2008)), imply the need for a re-examination of these equations and what they are telling us. In particular, a decline in trade costs can have both intensive margin (ie, increases in exporting firms that are already exporting) and extensive margin (i.e., an increase in the number of firms exporting) effects. In this paper, the authors estimate key structural parameters from Chaney(2008)'s model. Showing that their estimates are in accord with basic theoretical predictions in most industries in their French dataset. Their structural estimates allow the authors to map out the considerable degree of heterogeneity in response to reductions in transport costs across industries. The paper is a very effective and useful blending of theory and tight empirical work, providing new insight into one of the main workhorses of empirical trade.

Previous Winners: 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | 1980
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