It is given every second year by the Finnish Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation and the European Economic Association to the best economist(s) under the age of 45 «who has made a contribution that is significant to economics in Europe». Professor Zilibotti is the first academic from a Swiss University – and the first in the German-speaking area – to be awarded the prize. He is the second Italian national ever to receive the award. He shares the award with Professor John Van Reenen from the London School of Economics.
The selection committee, chaired by Professor Guido Tabellini, consists of five members, four nominated by the European Economic Association and one by the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation. It consults the most prominent economists worldwide, and uses their responses together with their own judgment to select the nominees.
Professor Zilibotti studied at the University of Bologna and at the London School of Economics. Before moving to Zurich in 2006, he was an Assistant Professor at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and a Full Professor of Economics at the University of London and Stockholm University. According to the official motivation, «Fabrizio Zilibotti has made important contributions to macroeconomics, political economics and labor economics. In particular, he has greatly improved our understanding of how technological innovation affects economic growth at different stages of economic development. He also contributed to the positive analysis of the welfare state, explaining how economic and political forces interact to shape government redistribution.»
The award will be publicly announced at 18:00 of August 27 2009, in a plenary session of the Annual Congress of the European Economic Association which takes place at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona.