By Heather Hollingsworth Associated Press
Philip Dybvig, winner of this year’s Nobel Prize in Economics For his investigation into bank collapses, he faces an investigation into sexual harassment allegations that his lawyer, Andrew Miltenberg, has called “factually inaccurate” and part of a “professional rivalry.”
Dybvig has been questioned in recent weeks by the Washington University Title IX office in St. Louis, Miltenberg told The Associated Press news agency.
Dybvig, a longtime professor of banking and finance at that university, did not respond to an email requesting comment.
Dybvig, fellow economist Douglas W. Diamond and former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, won the Nobel Prize in Economics in October for his research on bank failures, work that drew on lessons learned from the Great Depression and helped shape America’s aggressive response to the 2007-2008 financial crisis.
Findings from the early 1980s laid the foundation for regulating financial markets, said the Nobel jury from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, who said their research showed “why it is vital to prevent banks from collapsing.” .
BloombergNews reported that it reviewed emails showing that, since October, the Title IX office — which handles complaints of sexual harassment on campus — has contacted at least three former students to interview them about the complaints involving Dybvig.
They are part of a group of seven former students who allege Dybvig sexually harassed them and with whom Bloomberg reported having spoken. Most of those interviewed by the outlet spoke on condition of anonymity.
Tore Ellingsen, chairman of the Nobel Prize Committee in Economic Sciences, told Bloomberg that the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which oversees the awards, contacted the university to ensure they had a fair process to deal with the allegations.
“As long as the university hasn’t determined that Dybvig has done anything wrong, I think we owe him an untainted celebration of his great scientific achievement,” Ellingsen told Bloomberg.
The Foundation and the Nobel Peace Prize winner did not respond to AP’s request for comment. The university also did not reply to emails and phone messages from the agency.
Julie Flory, a spokeswoman for the university, explained to Bloomberg that the institution does not comment on specific cases, but that it takes sexual misconduct very seriously and will investigate any complaint.
Miltenberg said he considered the timing of the allegations suspicious, noting that they came to light after the award was announced but before the awards ceremony.
“We believe,” he said, “that this is a situation of professional rivalry.”
Miltenberg said Dybvig does not face any restrictions and was scheduled to sit out of classes in the spring semester, “long before” the allegations surfaced.
Miltenberg noted that the investigation is in the preliminary stages and that the Title IX office wants to speak with Dybvig again.
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Philip Dybvig, Nobel-winning economist, faces investigation over sexual harassment allegations