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Press Release

Jonathan Potts

For immediate release:
April 16, 2003

Award-winning Carnegie Mellon Professor Receives Arthur Arton Hamerschlag Professorship

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University Economics and Social Science Professor Steven Klepper, an award-winning teacher and researcher, has been named the first Arthur Arton Hamerschlag Professor of Economics and Social Science.

Klepper, who has been at Carnegie Mellon for 23 years, is the 1996 winner of the William H. and Frances S. Ryan Award for Meritorious Teaching from Carnegie Mellon, and the 1984 winner of the Elliott Dunlap Smith Award, which is given by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences for excellent undergraduate teaching.

Klepper has brought unconventional methods to the twin pillars of higher education: teaching and research. He teaches a popular introductory economics class nicknamed "Kleppernomics" that breathes life into the subject through spirited debate on the issues of the day. Klepper often plays devil's advocate to provoke discussion among his students.

"It's emblematic of how I've taught my whole career," Klepper said. Through his research, Klepper has challenged the conventional wisdom that lies at the heart of U.S. anti-trust policy. He has examined the evolution and organization of industries, looking at how industries develop over time, how specific companies come to dominate markets and how that affects technological innovation.

Rather than supporting the traditional assumption that competitive market structures are best for society, Klepper has found that large, dominant companies drive research and technological change, providing a societal benefit. Klepper is expanding his research in this area to determine why some industries are concentrated in geographic regions and the social impact of this phenomenon. "Steven Klepper is a superb faculty member. His research is innovative and instrumental in influencing our understanding of the determinants of technological change," H&SS Dean John Lehoczky said.

"Moreover, he is a brilliant, devoted educator whose teaching has had an impact on undergraduates throughout the entire university."

Klepper also is one of the architects of Carnegie Mellon's new Ph.D. program in strategy, entrepreneurship and technological change. Students in this multidisciplinary program study the conditions and policies that give rise to entrepreneurship and technological innovation.

"Professor Klepper's teaching ability is legendary‹his course in the principles of economics has educated and inspired generations of Carnegie Mellon students," said John Miller, head of the Department of Social and Decision Sciences. "His research seamlessly combines historical data with key theoretical and statistical techniques to better our understanding of fundamental economic forces," Miller said.

Arthur Arton Hamerschlag was the first president of the Carnegie Institute of Technology, the predecessor to Carnegie Mellon University. He led the institution from 1903 to 1922, and transformed it during that time from a small trade school to a thriving research institute.


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