John Rae Prize

The John Rae Prize is awarded every second year to the Canadian economist with the best research record during the last five years. The Prize is intended to recognize research excellence in the recent past and is not a life-time award. The award has been named after John Rae, born in Scotland in 1796, who did most of his work in Canada and was a genuine precursor of endogenous growth theory.  The award comes with a cash prize of $5,000. 

2020 Award Winner: Yoram Halevy

Congratulations to Yoram Halevy of the University of Toronto, the 2020 John Rae Prize winner, for his work investigating deviations from standard rationality. 



Remarks of the 2020 Prize Committee

Yoram Halevy of the University of Toronto has a stellar research record investigating deviations from standard rationality. His work is exemplary in mapping rigorous theoretical foundations to implications for both experimental and observational data. Over the last five years, Halevy has accumulated an impressive publication record, with papers published in Econometrica, Experimental Economics, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Journal of Political Economy, Quantitative Economics, the Review of Economic Studies, and the American Economic Review: Insights. The actual quality of these papers matches the prestigious nature of these outlets.

The paper in Econometrica is very well-known as it applies the novel insight that some of the apparent inter-temporal choice reversals observed in experiments can actually be attributed to time varying preferences. This involves carefully defining the relevant concepts and clever illuminating experiments. The JPE paper is an important re-examination of an old question relating to the connection between data and utility functions. The authors decompose the disagreement between any particular parametric utility function and the data into a component that is disagreement between the data and any over-parameterized utility function, and a component that has to do with the specified parametric class. This approach utilizes the intuitively appealing money metric construction due to Varian. They show their decomposition has desirable empirical properties. The RES paper has a simple appealing core idea. What if you have ambiguity aversion to correlation between two urns? In addition to ambiguity aversion to the distribution within each urn? The authors show this effect can be identified in ingenious experiments and investigate the theoretical basis.

This research represents a coherent, energetic and insightful program of exploration of bounded rationality that has attracted international attention. Halevy richly deserves the John Rae Prize for 2020 from the Canadian Economics  Association for the best publication record by a Canadian economist in the last five years.



Prize Criteria 

The Prize is awarded to the Canadian economist with the best research record during the last five years. The Committee may decide what constitutes "best research record" and may also interpret "five years" with a modest amount of flexibility. Nominees must have a current, primary appointment in Canada and have done so in three of the last five years. Nominees must be members of the Association at the time of nomination.

Prize Committee 

A three person Committee makes the decision. The Committee is appointed by the President of the CEA in consultation with other members of the CEA Executive. There is no explicit exclusion of the CEA Executive from the Committee but in practice they have not been members of the Committee.  

Nominations (now closed) 

Nominations are open to all members but in practice the majority of nominations come from the Chairs of the Economics Departments in Canada. Chairs are asked to send a nomination letter and the CV of the nominee. Additional materials will not be submitted to the selection committee.  



Past Winners

2018  Siwan Anderson (University of British Columbia)

2016  Fabian Lange (McGill University)

2014  Arthur Robson (Simon Fraser University) and Francesco Trebbi (University of British Columbia)

2012  Yves Sprumont (Université de Montréal)

2010  Michael Devereux (University of British Columbia)

2008  Paul Beaudry (University of British Columbia)

2006  Hao Li (University of Toronto)

2004  Walter Bossert (Université de Montréal)

2002  Mike Peters (University of Toronto)

2000  Dan Trefler (University of Toronto) and Shouyong Shi (Queen's University)

1998  Thomas Lemieux (Université de Montréal)

1996  Martin Browning (McMaster University)

1994  Larry Epstein (University of Toronto) and Jean-Marie Dufour (Universitè de Montréal)