To: The FAS Community

From: NYU President Andrew Hamilton and Provost Katherine E. Fleming

Date: Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Dear Faculty of Arts and Science Colleagues,

We are very pleased to announce the appointment of Antonio Merlo – an active and highly accomplished political economist; an administrator with a record of building academic strength; an alumnus of our Graduate School of Arts and Science; a former NYU faculty member; and an award-winning coach and founder of NYU’s water polo program – as the new Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science.  He will take up his new duties this coming summer.

He comes to us from Rice University, where he has been Dean of the School of Social Sciences since 2016 and a chaired professor of economics and the director of the Rice Initiative for the Study of Economics since 2014.

The Faculty of Arts and Science is NYU’s academic heart, the center around which the University is built.  Thus, for its dean, the expectation is high for excellence in scholarship and leadership, as well as for ambition and drive.  And NYU is challenging – vibrant, diverse, sometimes a bit fractious, proudly urban, and very large.  In selecting a dean, we look for an exceptional person.

Thanks to the fine work and the discernment of the Search Committee and its chair, Gloria Coruzzi, the Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Biology, we have found just such a person in Antonio Merlo.

In his work at Rice and at the University of Pennsylvania before that, he has successfully brought together social scientists and other scholars from across schools, departments, and disciplines to collaborate, innovate, and focus on pressing, important issues.  He has helped build departments and programs and has a proven record of commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.  He is committed to the effective use of data in scholarship, academic entrepreneurship, and administration. He not only supports but exemplifies a belief in the kind of global education for which NYU is rightly well known.  He is active not just as a scholar but as a successful fundraiser in support of his faculty colleagues, their programs, and students.  He has engineered effective partnerships with state agencies that enabled scholars to have a meaningful impact on a wide array of public policy matters.  And he also impressed the committee – and us – with his great personal warmth, his manifest collegiality, his positivity and faith in NYU, and, of course, his first-hand knowledge of the University and FAS.

Antonio Merlo’s areas of scholarly interest include political economy, policy analysis, public economics, bargaining theory and applications, and empirical microeconomics. His research interests include the economics of crime, voting, the career decisions of politicians, the formation and dissolution of coalition governments, the industrial organization of the political sector, household bargaining, and the study of the residential housing market. He has published numerous articles in the leading journals in the profession, including the American Economic Review, Econometrica, the Journal of Political Economy, and the Review of Economic Studies.  In 2018, he authored an innovative political economy textbook for undergraduates, "Political Economy and Policy Analysis" (Routledge).  His numerous awards and honors include being elected a Fellow of the Econometric Society; the Pareto Lecture in Economics and Social Sciences; being a Peden Senior Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge; and the
Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching.  In addition, he has been the recipient of the Coach of the Year Award for the Collegiate Water Polo Association in 2013 (Men’s Mid-Atlantic Division), 2017 (Women’s Texas Division), and 2018 (Men’s Texas Division).  

Prior to his arrival at Rice, Dean Merlo was on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, which he joined in 2000; he was the Lawrence R. Klein Professor of Economics, the chair of the Economics Department, and the Director of the Penn Institute for Economic Research. From 1998-2000, he was an associate professor of economics at NYU. And from 1992-1998, he was on the faculty of the University of Minnesota as an assistant and later associate professor of economics.

He received his undergraduate degree summa cum laude in economics and social sciences from Bocconi University in Italy.  He received his PhD in economics from NYU in 1992, where he received the Dean’s Outstanding Dissertation Award.

We want to thank Gloria Coruzzi and her colleagues on the Dean Search Committee, who undertook this effort in addition to all their regular duties. We appreciate the hard work, dedication, and thoroughness of these admirable University citizens, which resulted in such a wonderful candidate.  

We also want to express our enormous appreciation for our esteemed colleague, Tom Carew, who has been dean since 2011. His deanship will be remembered for its contributions to the FAS academic strength; the many new initiatives begun during his tenure, including the FAS Diversity Initiative, the Research Investment Fund, and the Center for Data Science; and for his kind, friendly, and thoughtful leadership. We are certain we speak for everyone in the FAS community as well as his colleagues in NYU’s senior leadership when we express our thanks to Tom, and in the coming months we will be arranging fitting opportunities to recognize his efforts fully.

We ask you to join us in congratulating Antonio Merlo on his appointment as FAS dean, in welcoming him back to NYU, and in welcoming his wife, Dr. Gia Merlo.