Simon Johnson

Faculty

Simon Johnson

About

SIMON JOHNSON is the Ronald A. Kurtz (1954) Professor of Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where he is also head of the Global Economics and Management group and chair of the Sloan Fellows MBA Program Committee. He cofounded and currently leads the popular Global Entrepreneurship Lab (GLAB) course – over the past 18 years, MBA students in GLAB have worked on more than 500 projects with start-up companies around the world.

He is the coauthor, with Jon Gruber, of Jump-Starting America: How Breakthrough Science Can Revive Economic Growth and the American Dream, which will be published in April 2019.

Johnson works closely with MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative (DCI). Specifically, Johnson supervises research projects related to blockchain technology, and is a co-founder of the Blockchain Lab course (with Michael Casey, Gary Gensler, and Neha Narula). Johnson is not an investor in Bitcoin or any cryptocurrency-related assets or startups, but he helps MIT students and others who want to build better companies.

Johnson is a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, D.C., a cofounder of BaselineScenario.com, and a member since inception of the FDIC’s Systemic Resolution Advisory Committee. From July 2014 to 2017, Johnson was a member of the Financial Research Advisory Committee of the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Financial Research (OFR), within which he chaired the Global Vulnerabilities Working Group.

Johnson has been a member of the private sector Systemic Risk Council since it was founded by Sheila Bair in 2012; this group is now chaired by Sir Paul Tucker. From April 2009 to April 2015, he was a member of the Congressional Budget Office's Panel of Economic Advisers. In March 2016, Johnson was the third distinguished visiting fellow at the Central Bank of Barbados.

“For his articulate and outspoken support for public policies to end too-big-to-fail”, Johnson was named a Main Street Hero by the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) in 2013. In April 2015, the Washington Examiner placed Johnson at #11 on their list of New Voices for 2015. In November 2015, Johnson joined the advisory council of Intelligence2 Debates.

Over the past decade, Johnson has published more than 300 high impact pieces in the New York Times, Bloomberg, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The New Republic, BusinessWeek, The Huffington Post, The Financial Times, and Project Syndicate. 

The Quiet Coup” received over a million views when it appeared in The Atlantic in early 2009. His book 13 Bankers: the Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown (with James Kwak), was an immediate bestseller and has become one of the mostly highly regarded books on the financial crisis. Their follow-up book on U.S. fiscal policy, White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, and Why It Matters for You, won praise across the political spectrum. Johnson’s academic research on economic development, corporate finance, and political economy is widely cited.

From March 2007 through the end of August 2008, Johnson was the International Monetary Fund's Economic Counsellor (chief economist) and Director of its Research Department. He also helped to found and run the NBER Africa Project; four volumes were published by the University of Chicago Press in 2016.

Johnson holds a BA in economics and politics from the University of Oxford, an MA in economics from the University of Manchester, and a PhD in economics from MIT.

IMPORTANT: For any media or appointment requests to Professor Johnson please be sure to copy Michelle Fiorenza: fiorenza@mit.edu.

Honors

Simon Johnson and Kristin Forbes have recently been appointed to the Congressional Budget Office's Panel of Economic Advisers

Johnson wins Jamieson Prize

Publications

​Jump-Starting America: How Breakthrough Science Can Revive Economic Growth and the American Dream.

Gruber, Jonathan, and Simon Johnson. New York, NY: Public Affairs, 2019.

"What Countries and Companies Can Do When Trade and Cybersecurity Overlap."

Madnick, Stuart, Simon Johnson, and Keman Huang. Harvard Business Review, January 2019.

The Impact of Blockchain Technology on Finance: A Catalyst for Change.

Casey, Michael, Jonah Crane, Gary Gensler, Simon Johnson, and Neha Narula. Geneva, Switzerland: Center for Economic Policy Research, 2018.

African Successes, Volume I: Government and Institutions.

Edwards, Sebastian, Simon Johnson, and David N. Weil (Eds.). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2016.

African Successes, Volume II: Human Capital.

Edwards, Sebastian, Simon Johnson, and David N. Weil (Eds.). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2016.

African Successes, Volume III: Modernization and Development.

Edwards, Sebastian, Simon Johnson, and David N. Weil (Eds.). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2016.

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Recent Insights

Press

Jump-Starting America by MIT’s Jonathan Gruber & Simon Johnson

A new book by two MIT economists Jonathan Gruber and Simon Johnson presents an ambitious plan to boost public funding in scientific research and development in dozens of communities around the country

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Ideas Made to Matter

What students will learn in the 'Blockchain and Money' class

Gary Gensler, a former Wall Street regulator and partner at Goldman Sachs, will teach the course this fall.

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