The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Monday awarded Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer the prestigious Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.”
“The research conducted by the 2019 Economic Sciences Laureates has considerably improved our ability to fight global poverty. In just two decades, their new experiment-based approach has transformed development economics, which is now a flourishing field of research,” said the statement released by the Academy.
The trio’s experimental research methods have benefited more than five million Indian children, who are part of remedial tutoring programmes in schools, the Academy said.
In February 2015, Banerjee and wife Duflo spoke to The Indian Express about their experiments with social sector schemes in India, why NREGA does a “poor” job of identifying the needy and how RTE has contributed to worsening learning levels in schools. They are the sixth couple to win the prize.
Congratulating Banerjee on winning the Nobel, the Congress party said the renowned economist was a key consultant for the NYAY programme presented by the party as a poll promise ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said about him: “Another Bengali has done the nation proud. We are overjoyed.”
Banerjee and Duflo work at Massachusetts Institute of Technology while Kremer is at Harvard University.
After today’s announcement, Duflo has become the second woman to win the prize after Elinor Ostrom of the US in 2009. She is also the youngest-ever to win the prize. The Nobel win carries a 9 million-kronor ($918,000) cash award, a gold medal, and a diploma.
“Showing that it is possible for a woman to succeed and be recognized for success I hope is going to inspire many, many other women to continue working and many other men to give them the respect they deserve,” Duflo said announcing her prize.
Last year, the prize went to William Nordhaus and Paul Romer of the US for constructing “green growth” models that show how innovation and climate policies can be integrated with economic growth.
Unlike other prizes, the Nobel prize for Economics, officially known as the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, wasn’t created by the prize founder. It was created by Riksbanken, the Swedish central bank, in 1968, and the first winner was selected a year later. So far, 81 Nobel laureates in economic sciences have been awarded.
The Economics Prize wraps up the 2019 Nobel season. Last week, six Nobel prizes were given — medicine, physics and chemistry plus two literature awards, and the coveted Peace Prize.
Austrian author Peter Handke is the winner of Nobel in literature this year and the postponed award for 2018 went to Polish author Olga Tokarczuk. Two Nobel Prizes in literature were announced as the 2018 award was delayed by one year following sex-abuse allegations that had rocked the Swedish Academy.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed won the Peace Prize in recognition of his efforts to end his country’s two-decade border conflict with Eritrea. All but the winner of the Peace Prize receive their awards on Dec. 10 — the anniversary of Nobel’s death in 1896 — in Stockholm. The winner of the Peace Prize receives the award in Oslo, Norway.