Daron Acemoglu Named Most Influential Economist

Istanbul-born Armenian economist Daron Acemoglu has topped the Research Papers in Economics (RePEc) ranking of the world’s most influential economists. The ranking is based on the research of more than 2,000 economists over the last 10 years.

Daron Acemoglu
Daron Acemoglu

Acemoglu is the Elizabeth and James Killian Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He was born in Istanbul to an Armenian family. His father Kevork was a lawyer and lecturer at the University of Istanbul, and his mother Irma was a principal and teacher at an Armenian middle school in Istanbul.

Acemoglu received a bachelor of arts in economics from the University of York, a master of science in mathematical economics and econometrics, and a Ph.D. in economics from the London School of Economics (LSE). He is the recipient of several awards and honors, including the inaugural T.W. Schulz Prize.

Acemoglu was a lecturer in economics at the LSE from 1992-93, before becoming a faculty member at MIT in 1993. In 2000 he was promoted to full professor, and in 2004 was named the Charles P. Kindleberger Professor of Applied Economics. Acemoglu is a member of the Economic Growth program of the Canadian Institute of Advanced Research, the co-editor of “Econometrica, Review of Economics and Statistics,” and associate editor of the “Journal of Economic Growth.” He is also an editorial committee board member of the “Annual Review of Economics.” In 2006, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Acemoglu was one of several scholars, artists, and writers from Turkey who in 2014 condemned the widespread anti-Armenian rhetoric in primary and middle school Turkish textbooks, and demanded that the books be pulled from circulation. That same year, several reports indicated that Acemoglu had been offered an ambassadorial posting from the Turkish government. In an interview with Turkey’s Hürriyet newspaper in 2014, he stated, “I do not intend to be part of bureaucracy or enter politics.”






  1. …and he is married to Asu Özdaglar (daughter to a former turkish politician – Ismail Özdaglar). Daron Acemoglu has done nothing for his people and his country (Armenia)

  2. Ara,
    It seems to me that he has done a lot for his people. Did you miss the part about his action against Turkish textbooks that spew hatred? Reducing the hatred quotient of 70 million Turks definitely counts in my view. Who he is married to doesn’t mean he feels any less Armenian. As to helping Armenia, the country needs a big broom to sweep away all the nasty elements before anyone from the Diaspora can even think of helping. Also they only seem to ask for donations not advice.
    God bless Daron. We are darn proud of his accomplishments.

    • {“…of 70 million Turks…”}

      There are no 70 million Turks in Turkey.
      There are anywhere from 15 million (official) to 25 million (Kurdish sources) Kurds in Turkey.
      An unknown number who are afraid to reveal their true ethnicity are also non-Turks.
      As of July, estimated population of Turkey is 79 million.
      Considering that Kurds increase at a rate 2X-3X that of the Turks in Turkey, the 20% Kurd percentage official estimate in Turkey from 2008 is clearly an under count.

      {“ As to helping Armenia, the country needs a big broom to sweep away all the nasty elements before anyone from the Diaspora can even think of helping.”}

      That is your personal choice: you don’t want to help, don’t.
      Those who do not want to help, will always find an excuse.
      Those who love and support Armenia and Artsakh unconditionally, will help no matter what.
      Lots of people are helping without waiting for some magical event: watch the annual Armenian Telethon Fund in November and see for yourself.
      And if you have a big broom handy and are living in Diaspora, you should consider sweeping away the nasty elements in your local Armenian community.

      {“ Also they only seem to ask for donations not advice.”}

      That sentence is so vile and insulting to the people of Armenia and Artsakh that if I replied appropriately to it, the entire post would be flushed by the moderator.

      I agree with you that being married to a non-Armenian is no issue, as long as his/her heart remains Armenian.
      Some non-Armenian spouses are even more Armenophile than their Armenian spouse.

  3. Dear Avery,

    I agree with you. I did not mean that there was no need for a big sweep of the nasty elements in the Diaspora. However, I was talking about Armenia and where I believe it is at a more serious level especially when the state is involved.

    I was not talking about helping at the personal level, which I think we all do to the extent we can in the diaspora. I was thinking in terms of someone in Daron’s calibre affecting change in Armenia. Here I make a distinction between helping Armenia and the Armenian people in Armenia. I am not making excuses for not helping. I don’t need to watch the telethon. I do believe we need to discuss corruption and crime in Armenia and its effects. You don’t need to be vile in your response. My experience has been a general rejection of advice from the Diaspora. Maybe others have encountered things differently.

    Finally, to your point about making a distinction between Turks and Kurds. I may have overstated the number of Turks, but let us be clear that not all Kurds are friends of Armenians, many are not, as not all Turks are hateful of Armenians. However you look at it there are tens of millions who hate Armenians in Turkey. Therefore, Daron’s action with regards to the textbooks was significant. For that action and all his accomplishments I am proud of him.

  4. I come across so many “post-article comments” from Armenians in the media and in social media who attack others in a nasty, negative way.
    We still have a long way to go before we reach the more accepted levels of giving constructive criticism amongst us without attacking the other.

  5. I know my comment is late but I don’t think Acemoglu has made or signed any statements condemning Turkish textbooks. His name is not in the list of the Turkish intellectuals who signed. At some point, his Wikipedia bio stated that he did but that sentence has disappeared. Instead, he has signed other much more “important” statements.

    He was also invited to Yerevan as a keynote speaker for the Armenian Economic Association’s 2013 meeting but decided to give his speech with the help of modern technology rather than be there in person. Perhaps, he really could not attend.

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