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Service, leadership, scholarship: Celebrating two extraordinary careers (continued)

“MIT has been good to me,” Urban said. “Where else can you go where you can do whatever you want, in whatever way you want, with the support and intellectual resources that you need? We were able to convert some of that into economic gains. And we’d like to give some of that back to perpetuate the structure I benefited from.”

Schmalensee served as dean from 1998 to 2007. He came to MIT in 1961 as a college freshman and went on to earn a PhD in economics, also at MIT. After returning to MIT Sloan in 1977, he held various titles, most recently the Howard W. Johnson Professorship of Economics and Management from 2007 until this year. He served as a member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers from 1989 through 1991, where he helped design the groundbreaking emissions trading program to control acid rain.

Over the course of his career, Schmalensee has written influential papers on the economics of advertising, credit cards, and new entry, as well as a range of other topics. He has long been connected to the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research (CEEPR), acting as the center’s director from 1991 to 1999, and again beginning in 2008. He is currently co-director of CEEPR and will step down from that position next summer.

One of Schmalensee’s best-known CEEPR projects focused on the performance and regulation of the electric utility industry. He collaborated on it with Paul L. Joskow, a former director of CEEPR and the Elizabeth and James Killian Professor of Economics, Emeritus, at MIT. The pair published their findings in a 1983 book, Markets for Power: An Analysis of Electric Utility Deregulation, which influenced a decade of debate about regulatory reform and the role of competition in the sector.

Schmalensee’s most recent work has explored the nature and function of platform markets, the future of the electric grid, and the development and impact of renewable energy.

“My time at MIT Sloan has been a real treat,” Schmalensee said. “And I don’t expect it to stop. The dishes on the menu may change, but the meal will continue to be interesting and impressive.”