Alex Mas ’99

2014 Young Alumni Award

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When the global recession of 2009 gripped the country, the Obama administration called on one of the country’s most highly regarded economists, Alex Mas. Mas served as chief economist for the U.S. Department of Labor 2009–2010, and as associate director for economic policy and chief economist for the Office of Management and Budget in the Executive Office of the President, 2010–2011. He then returned to Princeton where he is professor of economics and public affairs in the university's Department of Economics and Woodrow Wilson School.

At the OMB he dealt with issues ranging from labor to energy, from benefits to education. He credits his Macalester economics and mathematics classes for the framework enabling him to address those many varied concerns. He is grateful specifically for the mentorship of economics professor Gary Krueger, and mathematics professors Karen Saxe and Tom Halverson. Halverson inspired Mas by bringing him for a week to Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, Einstein's long-time academic home, where he encountered the world’s most famous mathematicians.

In addition to teaching many of the future’s economists, Mas is a fellow or associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, the IZA (Institute for the Study of Labor), and The Brookings Institution. He is known for using data and the scientific approach to inform policy on such critical issues as poverty, unemployment, and equal opportunity. Mas also edits the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Often honored for his contributions, in one year alone Mas was named a Sloan Research Fellow and received the IZA Young Labor Economics Award and Princeton’s Albert Rees Prize.