In Support of Professor Andreu Mas-Colell

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Sponsored by (in alphabetical order): Dora L. Costa (Kenneth T. Sokoloff Professor of Economic History, UCLA Economics), Drew Fudenberg (Paul A. Samuelson Professor of Economics, MIT), Pinelopi Goldberg (Elihu Professor of Economics, Yale), Sergiu Hart (Alice Kusiel and Kurt Vorreuter University Professor Emeritus, Hebrew University), Guido Imbens (Applied Econometrics Professor and Professor of Economics, Stanford), Eric Maskin (Adams University Professor and Professor of Economics and Mathematics, Harvard), Antonio Rangel (Bing Professor of Neuroscience, Behavioral Biology, and Economics, Caltech) and Michael Whinston (Professor of Economics and Sloan Fellows Professor of Management, MIT)

We are deeply concerned about the news and facts regarding Professor Andreu Mas-Colell, one of the best known and most highly regarded Spanish economists, in the current proceedings of the Tribunal de Cuentas.

Professor Mas-Colell, formerly the Louis Berkman Professor of Economics at Harvard University, former Editor of Econometrica (one of the top journals in economics), and former Secretary General of the European Research Council, became Minister of Economy and Knowledge of the Government of Catalonia, in charge of finance and budget, during one of the worst recessions in history (December 2010 – January 2016). The investigation of the Tribunal de Cuentas appears to be linked to Professor Mas-Colell’s service during that period, though the exact charges against him have never been specified.

The proceedings of the Tribunal de Cuentas may have severe financial consequences for Professor Mas-Colell despite the fact that in the 18,000+ page documentation of accusations sent to Professor Mas-Colell his connection is not specified. The Tribunal has the power to charge individuals with wrong-doing that would lead to financial penalties. Any appeals can take years and in the meantime the accused would have to put up a financial guarantee for the full amount of any specified penalty. Because the penalty could exceed the combined net worth of all accused individuals, Professor Mas-Colell faces the prospect of having all of his assets seized.

Those of us who have interacted with Professor Mas-Colell for many years as colleagues, students, and co-authors, know him to be a man of the utmost integrity. He is also known to be a man devoted to the public good, as evidenced by his leaving Harvard to return home to start a new Spanish educational institution, and his willingness to serve in governmental positions in Spain and Europe more generally. Spain was extremely fortunate that an economist of Professor Mas-Colell's abilities and stature was willing to devote himself to its public service.

Professor Andreu Mas-Colell stands as an example for Spanish scientists abroad. The outcome of this procedure may have a strong influence of their willingness to return to their country and enter public service.

We hope the situation will soon be clarified. We also hope that in the absence of any specific charges against Professor Mas-Colell, the Tribunal de Cuentas will avoid unwanted and unfair consequences to Professor Mas-Colell.

Signed by the following Nobel Laureates and Former Econometric Society and European Economic Association Presidents, in alphabetical order:

a = Nobel Laureate in economics
b = President or former President of the Econometric Society
c = Former President of the European Economic Association
Philippe Aghion (c)
George Akerlof (a)
Manuel Arellano (bc)
Orazio Attanasio (bc)
Robert Aumann (a)
Abhijit Banerjee (a)
Richard Blundell (bc)
Partha Dasgupta (ac)
Angus Deaton (a)
Eddie Dekel (b)
Mathias Dewatripont (c)
Peter Diamond (ab)
Esther Duflo (a)
Eugene Fama (a)
Ernst Fehr (c)
Drew Fudenberg (b)
Jordi Gali (c)
Pinelopi Goldberg (b)
Jean-Michel Grandmont (b)
Rachel Griffith (c)
Roger Guesnerie (bc)
Lars Hansen (ab)
Oliver Hart (a)
James Heckman (ab)
Elhanan Helpman (b)
Bengt Holmstrom (ab)
Dale Jorgenson (b)
Daniel Kahneman (a)
Mervyn King (c)
Michael Kremer (a)
Finn Kydland (a)
Eliana LaFerrara (c)
Eric Maskin (ab)
Daniel McFadden (ab)
Robert Merton (a)
Paul Milgrom (a)
Stephen Morris (b)
Roger Myerson (ab)
Torsten Persson (c)
Edmund Phelps (a)
Christopher Pissarides (ac)
Paul Romer (a)
Alvin Roth (a)
Myron Scholes (a)
Amartya Sen (ab)
Robert Shiller (a)
Christopher Sims (ab)
Robert Solow (ab)
Hugo Sonnenschein (b)
Michael Spence (a)
Joseph Stiglitz (a)
Guido Tabellini (bc)
Richard Thaler (a)
Jean Tirole (abc)
Robert Wilson(a)
Fabrizio Zilibotti (c)

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