Spence serves on the boards of Genpact and Mercadolibre and a number of private companies. He is a member of the board of the Stanford Management Company and the International Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation. He is a senior advisor to Oak Hill Investment Management and a consultant to PIMCO. He served as dean of the Stanford Business School from 1990 to 1999. As dean, he oversaw the finances, organization and educational policies of the school.
Spence earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy at Princeton, summa cum laude, and was selected for a Rhodes scholarship. He was awarded his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Oxford University in mathematics and earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in economics at Harvard University in the United States. He taught at Stanford University in the U.S. as an associate professor of economics from 1973 to 1975.
From 1975 to 1990, he worked as a professor of economics and business administration at Harvard University, holding a joint appointment in the Business School and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. From 1984 to 1990, Spence served as the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, overseeing Harvard College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the Division of Continuing Education. In 1983, he was named chairman of the economics department and the George Gund Professor of Economics and Business Administration.
Spence was awarded the John Kenneth Galbraith Prize for excellence in teaching and the John Bates Clark medal for a “significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge.”
He is professor emeritus of management in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford. As of September 2010, he is a professor of economics at the Stern School of Business at New York University.