UMass Amherst Economist Isabella Weber Named to ‘TIME100 Next’
University of Massachusetts Amherst economist Isabella Weber has been named to the 2023 “TIME100 Next” list of emerging leaders from around the world. Weber is known internationally for her research on systemically important prices, strategic price stabilization and what she calls “sellers’ inflation” – the ability of firms with market power to hike prices and boost profits in an emergency.
Weber, an associate professor of economics at UMass Amherst, first gained international attention in late 2021 when she authored an op-ed for The Guardian explaining how the history of strategic price controls could inform the fight against inflation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, her intervention sharply divided the economic community and Weber faced a wave of blistering online harassment. However, as inflation persisted and it became clear after the Russian attack on Ukraine that inflation could not be stabilized by increasing interest rates alone, many critics eventually came to embrace Weber’s views. Ultimately, her policy proposals informed Germany’s gas price stabilization policy and her contributions helped shift the inflation debate as chronicled in The New Yorker.
“It’s been an incredible journey from being ridiculed to being vindicated,” Weber says.
“By challenging conventional thinking, Isabella Weber is helping to redefine global economic policy,” says UMass Amherst Chancellor Javier Reyes. “I congratulate her on this impressive international honor, and I look forward to seeing where her research takes us next.”
“Weber is challenging the conventional wisdom that giant companies don’t price-gouge—and she’s been proved right,” writes Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren in the “TIME100 Next” article. “She correctly identified how the Fed’s extreme interest-rate hikes are ill-suited to address this profiteering, arguing it should pause its increases before throwing millions out of work. Our nation needs structural changes to promote competition and investment, and Weber’s bold ideas are helping shift the economic paradigm.”
In the past year, Weber has been named one of the “Top 40 Under 40” by Capital, the most widely read business publication in Germany, has been included on Bloomberg Businessweek’s “Bloomberg 50 ‘Ones to Watch’” list for 2022, and was listed as one of Germany’s “100 Women of the Year” by FOCUS magazine. Her story has been covered by leading media outlets in many languages.
Weber is also a research associate and research leader in China studies with the UMass Amherst Political Economy Research Institute and an associate in research at the Fairbank Center at Harvard University.
An expansion of the TIME100 list of the most influential people in the world, TIME100 Next highlights 100 emerging leaders who are shaping the future of business, entertainment, sports, politics, health, science, activism and more. The full list and related tributes appear in the Sept. 25 issue, available on newsstands this Friday.