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Lisa Cook

Lisa  Cook
  • Professor
  • Faculty
  • Case Hall Room N357
  • 842 Chestnut Rd
  • East Lansing, MI 48825
  • 517-884-1276


Dr. Lisa D. Cook is a Professor in the Department of Economics and in International Relations (James Madison College) at Michigan State University. As the first Marshall Scholar from Spelman College, she received a second B.A. from Oxford University in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. Dr. Cook earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley. Among her current research interests are economic growth and development, financial institutions and markets, innovation, and economic history. She was a National Fellow at Stanford University and served in the White House as a Senior Economist at the Council of Economic Advisers under President Obama from 2001-2012. She served as President of the National Economic Association and currently serves as Director of the American Economic Association (AEA) Summer Training Program. She is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer. In 2019, she was elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the AEA. She is on the Board of Editors of the Journal of Economic Literature, and her publications have appeared in other peer-reviewed journals, including the American Economic Review, the Journal of Economic Growth, Explorations in Economic History, and the Business History Review, as well as in a number of books. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Economic History Association, and Harvard Business School, among others. Dr. Cook has held positions or conducted postdoctoral research at the National Bureau of Economic Research; the Federal Reserve Banks of Minneapolis, New York, and Philadelphia; the World Bank; the Brookings Institution; the Hoover Institution (Stanford University); Salomon Brothers (now Citigroup); and C&S Bank (now Bank of America). She is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations, the Advisory Board of the Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, the Advisory Board of the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian Institution, and the Board of Directors of the Roosevelt Institute. She received the Founders Prize for best paper in Social Science History in 2018 and the American Economic Association Impactful Mentor Award for mentoring graduate students from the AEA Mentoring Pipeline program in 2019. Prior to this academic appointment and while on faculty at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, she was also Deputy Director for Africa Research and Programs at the Center for International Development at Harvard University, was Managing Editor of the Harvard University-World Economic Forum Africa Competitiveness Report, and contributed to the Making Markets Work program at Harvard Business School. With fellow economist and co-author Jeffrey Sachs, she advised the governments of Nigeria and Rwanda, and, as a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow, she was Senior Adviser on Finance and Development at the Treasury Department from 2000 to 2001. From November 2008 to January 2009, Dr. Cook was on the Obama Presidential Transition Team and led the review of the World Bank and International Affairs division of the Treasury Department. She speaks English, French, Russian, Spanish, and Wolof.


Professor Lisa Cook co-authors research: There are benefits to having a racially distinctive name. More...

Professor Lisa Cook was.recently named to the Research Advisory Board of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, a new think tank that focuses on economic research and policy related to inequality. 

Professor Cook published in June 2014: "Violence and Economic Growth:  Evidence from African American Patents, 1870-1940" in the Journal of Economic Growth and "Black Names in the American Past" in Explorations in Economic History.

Professor Cook was selected as a Visiting Scholar at the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian Institution and was in residence there in fall 2013, based on her research on the productivity of patent teams. She was also recently named to the Advisory Board of the Lemelson Center.

Professor Cook gave talks at the American Economic Association meetings, the University of Chicago, the Bank of France, the Paris School of Economics, Michigan State, the Smithsonian Institution, Stanford University, University of Massachusetts -- Amherst, the University of Michigan, and the Upjohn Institute during the summer 2014. And, during the past academic year, she appeared on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry Show in NYC several times, as well as a number of other local, regional, national, and international media outlets.

Associate Dean Julia Grant and Professor Lisa Cook have been selected as MSU Academic Leadership Fellows in collaboration with the Committee on Institutional Collaboration (Big Ten plus University of Chicago).  Grant and Cook will be visiting other CIC institutions and meeting with leaders at both MSU and beyond to learn more about new directions, current trends, and best practices in higher education. 

Professor Lisa Cook publishes working paper "Distinctively Black Names in the American Past" for the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Professor Cook was on leave for the 2011-2012 school year

JMC Professor Lisa Cook calls for major changes in consumer behavior. Despite living in the "epicenter of the Great Recession," Michigan residents continue to do a poor job budgeting their money, according to a study by an MSU economist who recommends major changes in consumer behavior and financial education.

Professor Lisa Cook, assistant professor in James Madison College and the Department of Economics, talks about a recent National Science Foundation grant she received.

Professor Cook received a $157,000 grant award from the National Science Foundation to conduct further research on the Economics of Innovation from 2011 to 2013. The focus of this work will be patent activity among minorities and women. The work on which the award is based can be found in the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Working Paper Series..

Professor Cook was selected for an Alfred T. Chandler, Jr. Travel Fellowship from Harvard Business School to conduct research on the historical origins of financial crises. She will visit Harvard during the summer consulting records of the British colonial government to execute this research. Her current work related to this historical research can be found in the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Working Paper Series.

In February, Lisa Cook gave two seminars at Yale University, including at Yale Law School, on her research on violence and economic growth.

In February, Professor Cook participated in a panel at Harvard Business School at the Africa Business Conference on venture capital in Africa. Experts and practitioners from around the world are selected to participate in this conference. In addition to her courses at JMC, she teaches the Economic Analysis of Sub-Saharan Africa in the Economics Department at MSU and was previously the Managing Editor of the World Economic Forum's Africa Competitiveness Report. Her new research related to Africa focuses on Chinese investment in Africa, which was the subject of her March 17 seminar at the MSU African Studies Center.

Lisa Cook testified in June 2009 as an expert on development economics based on her research published in the AER on recent trends in African economic growth. The focus of the testimony is U.S. and Africa trade relations and economic recovery in the U.S. and Africa.

Lisa Cook's article 'Metals or Management? Explaining Africa's Recent Growth Performance' was published in the May 2009 issue of 'The American Economic Review.' The paper attempts to identify the relative contribution of luck or natural resources, and better economic management to the rise in output per capita since the late 1990?s. She presented the paper at the American Economic Association meetings in San Francisco in January 2009 and the spring meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Washington D.C. in April. Cook also presented her research on innovation in Russia and in the Soviet Union at several venues including JMC, Duke University, Harvard University, Stanford University, the University of Michigan, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), Moscow State University, the University of California, Santa Barbara, as well as the Economic History Association meetings in late summer 2009.

Lisa Cook chaired and participated in the panel, "Global Economic Crisis and Recovery: Michigan in the Eye of the Storm," a Madison and College of Social Science sponsored alumni and friends event, held in Washington DC in the spring of 2009. She participated in another panel on the economic and financial crisis at the Eli Broad School of Management at MSU in April.

Lisa Cook was selected by the Obama administration to serve on the Presidential Transition Team from November 2008 to January 2009 as a member of the Economy and International Trade team. In her role with the administration, Cook headed the review of the World Bank and the Office of International Affairs at the Treasury Department. Cook also attended the Inauguration.

In a national competition, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) selected Cook as an Innovation Policy and the Economy Fellow. The year-long fellowship came to a close in the spring of 2009. The NBER also selected Cook to receive a $100,000 grant sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Cook will use the grant to support research on the Nigerian economy through 2011.

Professor Lisa Cook recently received a fellowship of $10,000 from the National Bureau of Economic Research, the leading economics research institution in the country, to support her new research on rates of commercialization of patented ideas over time. The research is related to the chapter Cook contributed to a volume on commercialization of innovation that will be published by Cambridge University Press.

Professor Cook was awarded the Economic History Association's Arthur H. Cole grant of $2500 to support new research that attempts to explain the returns to investment in basic scientific research in the Soviet Union and Russia, using newly available patent data from the Soviet and Russian patent offices.

Professor Cook presented the first paper 'A Green Light for Red Patents? Outsourcing Patent Protection in the Soviet Union and Russia, 1971-2007,' at the Business History Conference in Sacramento, California in April. Cook was also a featured economist on the American Economic Association's Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession web site.

Madison Professor Lisa Cook is serving on President-elect Barack Obama?s Economics and International Trade Team as World Bank Review Team leader. Cook is also a professor in the Department of Economics at MSU.

Dr. Lisa Cook, an authority on economic growth in developing nations, will address "Patents and Knowledge Spillovers to Developing Countries" Oct. 24, 2007 at Western Michigan University as the part of the Werner Sichel Economics Lecture-Seminar Series.