He has made history with his election to the the Econometric Society. Leonard Wantchekon, Beninese professor at Princeton University in the United States of America, is the first black African economist to be elected into this organization, which is the most prestigious economic society in the world.
Many of the works which earned him this accomplishment were carried out from 2000-2015 and focused on Political Economy and Quantitative Economic History. For instance colonial schools and social mobility in Benin (2015), the long term effect of the slave trade on interpersonal trust in Africa (2011), the theory of democracy of warlords (2004), and the theory of electoral competition under the threat of political instability (2000).
This election, following the 2013 American Academy of Arts and Science, recognizes Wantchekon’s efforts to promote cutting-edge economic research in Africa, with the creation of the African School of Economics (ASE) in 2014. His most recent work was the organization of the 2018 Africa Conference of the Econometric Society, which was held from July 12th to 14th 2018. For this occasion a hundred highly accomplished economists from many nationalities came to Cotonou, Benin and exchanged on diverse subjects such as: financial inclusion, education, health, research and training in economics in Africa, financing and road networks, market integration issues, and more. High-profile personalities who participated this event included 2007 Nobel Prize Roger Myerson, professor Tim Besley of the London School of Economics, and Eliana la Ferrarra, development economist, as well as other well known African and Caribbean economists. The event was live-streamed on the internet on various university campuses and other spaces around the world.
As a reminder, Léonard Wantchékon was elected Secretary General of the American Association of Political Science in 2009 and has been a member of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Economics since 2017.