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Steven N. Durlauf is William F. Vilas Research Professor and Kenneth J. Arrow Professor of Economicsat the University of Wisconsin–Madison, USA. He is a Fellow of the Econometric Societyand a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. In 2011, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is currently a co-director of the Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group at the University of Chicago, an international research network linking scholars across disciplines in the study of inequality and the sources of human flourishing and destitution. Durlauf is the Editor of the Journal of Economic Literature. He was general editor of The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, revised edition, published in 2008, the most extensive compendium of economic knowledge in the world.

Durlauf’s research spans many topics in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics. His most important substantive contributions involve the areas of poverty, inequality and economic growth. Much of his research has attempted to integrate sociological ideas into economic analysis. This has led him to propose a “memberships theory” of inequality in which the memberships of individuals to neighborhoods, schools, class, ethnic groups, and firms combine to determine socioeconomic outcomes, His major methodological contributions include both economic theoryand econometrics. He helped pioneer the application of statistical mechanics techniques to the modelling of socioeconomic behavior and has also developed identification analyses for the empirical analogs of these models.