The FUE-Diversity Prize Committee is happy to announce its decision to award the Fith Diversity Prize to Professor Joan María Esteban.
Joan Maria Esteban is a prolific and highly creative researcher, who has made path-breaking contributions to economics and the social sciences. A summary of the different fields he has worked on will be sufficient to justify how much he deserves the Urrutia Elejalde Foundation Diversity Prize.
His research embraces a wide variety of topics ranging from regional economics, monetary economics, political economy, or social polarization. His work has been published in top economics journals such as Econometrica, AER, JPE or JET, political science journals such as APSR or Journal of Peace Research, and in Science.
His first works on monetary theory focused on the intergenerational trust necessary to sustain the social acceptability of fiat money. This idea was in line with the argument by Hume that unborn generations could not feel bound by any possible existing social contract.
Jointly with Debraj Ray he has conceptualized the notion of polarization and has axiomatized a measure of that concept. Their notion of polarization has become standard in Economics and Political Science.
Also with Debraj Ray, and lately also with Laura Mayoral, he has made a number of contributions on the determinants of social conflict, with an emphasis on the role of ethnic, non-economic markers.
In cooperation with Jozsef Sákovics, he has developed a theory of bargaining under the threat of conflict. They axiomatize a solution concept where the players, if they fail to agree, are fined according to the payoffs of a given non-cooperative game.
With Massimo Morelli and Dominic Rohner, Joan has studied the determinants of mass killings and genocides and shown that are consistent with rational behavior. They also have empirically tested the implications of the model.
With Matteo Cervellati and Larry Kranich, he has studied the majoritarian taxation that results when individuals are driven by the valuation of their own behavior relative to that of others, according to what their morality identifies as proper behavior. This paper links social psychology with the endogenous formation of individual preferences.
Currently, his work with Gilat Levy and Laura Mayoral deals with the fact that religious or secular attitudes produce a different valuation of a widening of individual liberties, such as divorce, abortion, gay marriage… This differential valuation translates into a different valuation of material rewards and hence of effort. The paper studies the effect of different distributions of religiosity levels on the choice of liberties and of redistribution.
In addition he has coauthored two books on the impact on the Spanish economy of the EU economic and monetary union, one book on the economy policies of general Franco’s dictatorship, and one book on the financing of regional governments in Spain. He also has papers on regional economics, Olson’s group size paradox, lobbying, and inequality measurement.
All of this, in addition to his continued service to the Southern European research community, amply qualifies Joan Maria Esteban to be awarded the Urrutia Elejalde Foundation Diversity Prize.