Lawrence H. Summers
Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus, Harvard University

What is the measure of a good life?

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Larry Summers believes the measure of a good life is leaving a positive difference.

Lawrence H. Summers

Lawrence H. Summers is an American economist. He is the Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus at Harvard University, where he became one of the university's youngest tenured faculty at age 28.

The author of over 150 journal articles, Dr. Summers' wide-ranging contributions to economic research were recognized with the John Bates Clark Medal, given every two years to the outstanding American economist under the age of 40. He was also the first social scientist to receive the National Science Foundation’s Alan T. Waterman Award for outstanding scientific achievement.

Beyond his academic career, Dr. Summers has held a number of distinguished appointments in government. He previously served as Director of the National Economic Council for the Obama Administration, Secretary of the Treasury for the Clinton Administration, and Chief Economist of the World Bank.

Lawrence Summers received his S.B. from MIT and his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard. He and his wife Elisa New, a professor of English at Harvard, have six children.


Lawrence Summers: You know I probably, to this point, have been sufficiently busy living my life that I probably haven’t focused a lot on measuring my life. But I hope that I made the world a better place, and I think everyone can think about whether they made the world a better place for their children, for their families, made the world a better place more broadly. That, I think is the ultimate test for me.

Recorded On: June 13, 2007