Michigan State University

Michigan State University wordmark Michigan State University masthead graphic

Cook, Lisa

Associate Professor
International Relations and Economics

Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

Case Hall
842 Chestnut Rd Room N357
East Lansing, MI 48825


Lisa D. Cook, Ph.D., teaches at both James Madison College and in the Department of Economics at Michigan State University. After receiving a B.A. from Spelman College, she was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University where she obtained a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. She received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and was a post-doctoral fellow and visiting Assistant Professor at the Kennedy School of Government and Deputy Director for Africa Research at the Center for International Development at Harvard University from 1999 to 2002. She was Senior Adviser on Finance and Development at the Treasury Department and Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow from 2000 to 2001 under the Clinton and Bush Administrations. From 2002 to 2005, she was a National Fellow and Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Her current research interests include the economics of intellectual property rights, economic growth and development, financial institutions and markets (Africa, Russia, Eastern and Central Europe, international crises), and economic history. Dr. Cook is the author of a number of published articles, book chapters, and working papers and has edited and contributed to the Harvard-World Economic Forum Global and Africa Competitiveness Reports. Her research and training have been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Bureau for Economic Research, and the Economic History Association. With fellow economist and co-author Jeffrey Sachs, she has advised the governments of Rwanda and Nigeria.

Inquiries related to the Obama-Biden Transition Project should be directed to Dan.pfeiffer@ptt.gov



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.