Summers, Lawrence Henry

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Summers, Lawrence Henry

Lawrence Henry Summers, 1954–, U.S. economist, government official, and educator, b. New Haven, Conn. Educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard, he taught at MIT and in 1983 became the youngest tenured professor in Harvard's history. He served on the President's Council of Economic Advisors in 1982–83 during the Reagan administration, edited the Quarterly Journal of Economics in 1984–90, and in 1991–93 was chief economist of the World Bank. He left Harvard in 1993 to become under secretary for international affairs in the Treasury Dept. during the Clinton administration. He was deputy secretary under Robert Rubin from 1995 until 1999, when he succeeded Rubin as secretary (1999–2001). Summers became president of Harvard in 2001. His contentious relations with many in the faculty, and a 2005 controversy sparked by his suggestion that the presence of fewer women in upper-level science and math positions was the result of innate differences between men and women, led to his resignation as president in 2006; he remained a professor there. From 2009 to 2010 he was director of the National Economic Council under President Barack Obama.

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