Myrto Kalouptsidi, Associate Professor of Economics at Harvard University

Bodossaki Distinguished Young Scientist Award 2021

Academic field:
Social Sciences: Economics, Political Science, Law

“This distinction from Bodossaki Foundation is a special honour for me. It encourages me to continue with increased intensity my efforts and to complete the research agenda I have set myself for the coming years, which includes the role of infrastructure. This award is now established in the scientific community as a major distinction and one that many young Greek scientists dream of.”


Myrto Kalouptsidi is Associate Professor of Economics at Harvard University. Her research focuses on the role of transport and infrastructure in international trade.

Born in Athens in 1982, she grew up in the neighbourhood of Nea Smyrni and finished the American College of Greece in 2000. She was admitted with the top entry exam marks in the Economics Department of the University of Athens, from which she graduated in 2004 with honours. She completed the postgraduate program in Economics of the Athens University of Economics and Business in 2005. She then pursued postgraduate and doctoral studies on a scholarship at Yale University in the USA, in the field of Economics and, more specifically, in Industrial Organization. She obtained her PhD in 2011 with distinction. From 2011 to 2016, she was Assistant Professor of Economics at Princeton University, while in 2015 she was Visiting Professor at Stanford University. Since 2016, she is Assistant Professor at Harvard University. In 2018, she was a Stanley Marks and William Marks Assistant Professor at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute.

In 2022 she received the Frisch Medal Award, which is awarded every two years to the best research paper published in the leading scientific journal Econometrica during the previous five years.

In her research, she uses mathematical models that aim to describe, as realistically as possible, the transport markets and specifically shipping. Around 90% of international trade is by ship and yet, in economics, the interaction between shipping and international trade had not been fully studied. Her research work develops a mathematical model for this interaction and is based on the collection of satellite data (AIS) on ship traffic and ships’ characteristics.

Mathematical models and data are combined to provide answers to many traditional and contemporary questions, such as, for example. how macroeconomic shocks propagate through the international trade network and what is the role of major infrastructure changes, such as the opening of the Northwest Passage or the construction of new ports. Her work also examines whether shipping works efficiently.

The results obtained show that the role and impact of transport is crucial for exporters’ costs and trade flows. In particular, shipping affects trade through three mechanisms: Fares determine productive geography, turn local macroeconomic shocks into global shocks and mitigate macroeconomic shocks. For this work, Myrto Kalouptsidi received a National Science Foundation (NSF) award and a CAREER scholarship.

In another research direction, directly related to economic policy, she examined China’s state subsidies. Based on appropriate mathematical models and data, she developed a strategy to detect and measure “hidden” subsidies that are not fully compatible with international agreements. She uses the shipbuilding industry to show that Chinese subsidies have had a huge impact on geographical production and have rapidly led to leadership in many industrial sectors. The relevant research work has been awarded an NSF award and has attracted interest from the international press as well as from international trade policy authorities.