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Dale T. Mortensen
Dale Mortensen 2.jpg
Mortensen in 2010
Born (1939-02-02)February 2, 1939
Died January 9, 2014(2014-01-09) (aged 74)
Nationality American
Institution Northwestern University
Field Labor economics
Alma mater Carnegie Mellon University
Willamette University
Michael C. Lovell
Ronald G. Ehrenberg
Awards IZA Prize in Labor Economics (2005)
Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Dale Thomas Mortensen (February 2, 1939 – January 9, 2014) was an American economist and winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

Early life and education

Mortensen was born in Enterprise, Oregon. He received his BA in economics from Willamette University and his PhD in Economics from Carnegie Mellon University.


Nobel Prize 2010-Press Conference KVA-DSC 8019
Peter Diamond, Dale T. Mortensen, Christopher A. Pissarides, Konstantin Novoselov, Andre Geim, Akira Suzuki, Ei-ichi Negishi, and Richard Heck, Nobel Prize Laureates 2010, at a press conference at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm.

Mortensen had been on the faculty of Northwestern University since 1965 and a professor of Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences at the Kellogg School of Management since 1980. He was the Niels Bohr Visiting Professor at the School of Economics and Management, Aarhus University, from 2006 to 2010.

He was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences jointly with Christopher A. Pissarides from the London School of Economics and Peter A. Diamond from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2010 "for their analysis of markets with search frictions". In May 2011, Mortensen was awarded an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, Willamette University. He was married to Beverly Mortensen, also a Northwestern Professor.

Mortensen's research focused on labor economics, macroeconomics and economic theory. He is especially known for his pioneering work on the search and matching theory of frictional unemployment. He extended the insights from this work to study labor turnover and reallocation, research and development, and personal relationships.

Mortensen was a past president of the Society of Economic Dynamics and one of the founding editors of the Review of Economic Dynamics.


Mortensen died of stage 4 lung cancer on January 9, 2014, at the age of 74, at his home in Wilmette.

Awards, fellowships

The Dale T. Mortensen Building

In February 2011, Mortensen had a building named in his honor at Aarhus University. The Dale T. Mortensen Building is the central hub for all international and PhD activities and contains the new PhD House, Dale's Café, the university's International Centre and the new IC Dormitory for international PhD students.

Selected publications

  • D. Mortensen and E. Nagypál (2007), 'More on unemployment and vacancy fluctuations.' Review of Economic Dynamics 10 (3), pp. 327–47.
  • D. Mortensen (2005), Wage Dispersion: Why Are Similar Workers Paid Differently?, MIT Press. ISBN: 0-262-63319-1
  • K. Burdett and D. Mortensen (1998), 'Wage differentials, employer size, and unemployment.' International Economic Review 39, pp. 257–73.
  • D. Mortensen and C. Pissarides (1994), 'Job creation and job destruction in the theory of unemployment.' Review of Economic Studies 61, pp. 397–415.
  • D. Mortensen (1986), 'Job search and labor market analysis.' Ch. 15 of Handbook of Labor Economics, vol. 2, O. Ashenfelter and R. Layard, eds., North-Holland.
  • D. Mortensen (1982), 'Property rights and efficiency of mating, racing, and related games.' American Economic Review 72 (5), pp. 968–79.
  • D. Mortensen (1982), 'The matching process as a non-cooperative/bargaining game.' In The Economics of Information and Uncertainty, J. McCall, ed., NBER, ISBN: 0-226-55559-3.
  • D. Mortensen (1972), 'A theory of wage and employment dynamics.' In Microeconomic Foundations of Employment and Inflation Theory, E. Phelps et al., eds., Norton, ISBN: 978-0-393-09326-1

See also

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