GSB finance professor wins 2005 Bernácer Prize

By Aaron Brown

Monika Piazzesi, assistant professor of finance at the Graduate School of Business (GSB), won the 2005 Bernácer Prize, which is awarded annually to the best European economist under the age of 40.

Piazzesi will receive the award at a ceremony in Madrid on May 31. In addition to the academic distinction, she will receive a medallion, a diploma, and a cash prize of 25,000 euros, or about $31,800.

The award committee recognized Piazzesi for her important research on finance. According to a press release, she developed “a unified approach that improves our understanding of the connection between asset prices—including bonds, equities and real estate—and the institutional features of monetary policy and business cycles.”

The Bernácer Prize was created in 2001 to encourage research in the fields of macroeconomics and finance by academics from the European Union. Piazzesi is a German citizen.

The prize is named after the Spanish economist Germán Bernácer, a pioneer in the field of macroeconomics. It is sponsored by the Spanish bank La Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo.

For Piazzesi, the announcement of the award was pleasing, if unexpected. “I was surprised and happy, of course,” she said.

Despite her economic expertise, Piazzesi said she has yet to devise an advantageous financial plan for her winnings.

Instead, she said she is continuing to focus on her academic work and the investigations that won her recognition.

“My research is about asset pricing,” she said. “At the moment, I am mostly excited about why house prices are so high and why nominal interest rates are so low.”

Piazzesi, a member of the GSB faculty since 2003, teaches a class on financial instruments for MBA students. She also serves as a research associate for the Centre for Economic Policy Research and the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Piazzesi received her undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Bonn and her Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University.

The announcement marks the second time a U of C professor has won the Bernácer Prize in its five-year history. In 2003, the award was given to Luigi Zingales, an Italian professor of finance and entrepreneurship at the GSB.