Matthew Gentzkow of Chicago University is this year's winner of the John Bates Clark medal. The JBC, awarded biennially from 1947-2009 and annually thereafter, is awarded to the "American economist under the age of forty who is judged to have made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge". The JBC is often considered an early-career version of an economics Nobel - you can see the list of past winners here, many of whom went on to win a Nobel later.
"Matthew Gentzkow has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the economic forces driving the creation of media products, the changing nature and role of media in the digital environment, and the effect of media on education and civic engagement. He has thus emerged as a leader in a new generation of microeconomists applying economic methods to analyze questions that were historically analyzed by non-economists. His empirical work combines novel data, innovative identification strategies and careful empirical methods to answer questions at the interface of economics, political science, and sociology. This work is complemented by significant theoretical work on information, communication, and persuasion. Gentzkow, both on his own and in collaboration with his frequent co-author, Jesse Shapiro, has played a primary role in establishing a new and extremely promising empirical literature on the economics of the news media."
Click to read the press release discussing his work further.