The Nobel prize for Economics has been awarded to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.”
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on Monday (October 14) announced the 2019 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in memory of Alfred Nobel to the three.
“The research conducted by this year’s 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 Nobel committee in a statement.
The Nobel comes with a prize sum of nine million Swedish kronor (₹6.51 crore), to be shared if there is more than one winner in the discipline.
Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee did his BSc from Calcutta’s Presidency College (now, a university) in 1981, MA from Jawaharlal Nehru University in 1983 and PhD from Harvard University in 1988.
He is married to Duflo and they are the first couple to get the Nobel Prize together.
He is currently the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2003 he founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), along with Esther Duflo and Sendhil Mullainathan, and he remains one of the lab’s directors.
Banerjee is a past president of the Bureau for the Research in the Economic Analysis of Development, a Research Associate of the NBER, a CEPR research fellow, International Research Fellow of the Kiel Institute, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society, and has been a Guggenheim Fellow and an Alfred P Sloan Fellow and a winner of the Infosys prize.
He is the author of a large number of articles and four books, including Poor Economics (www.pooreconomics.com), which won the Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year. He is the editor of three more books and has directed two documentary films. He also served on the U.N. Secretary-General’s High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Esther Duflo is the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics in the Department of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a co-founder and co-director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL).
In her research, she seeks to understand the economic lives of the poor, with the aim to help design and evaluate social policies. She has worked on health, education, financial inclusion, environment and governance.
Professor Esther Duflo’s first degrees were in history and economics from Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris. She subsequently received a Ph.D. in Economics from MIT in 1999.
Duflo has received numerous academic honors and prizes including the Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences (2015), the ASK Social Science Award (2015), Infosys Prize (2014), the David N Kershaw Award (2011), a John Bates Clark Medal (2010), and a MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship (2009).
With Abhijit Banerjee, she wrote Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty, which won the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award in 2011 and has been translated into more than 17 languages.
Duflo is the Editor of the American Economic Review, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy.
Michael Kremer is the Gates Professor of Developing Societies in the Department of Economics at Harvard University. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and a Presidential Faculty Fellowship, and was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
Kremer’s recent research examines education, health, water, and agriculture in developing countries. He has been named as one of Scientific American’s 50 researchers of the year, and has won awards for his work on health economics, agricultural economics, and on Latin America.
He helped develop the advance market commitment (AMC) for vaccines to stimulate private investment in vaccine research and the distribution of vaccines for diseases in the developing world.
In the fall of 2010, he became the founding Scientific Director of Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) at USAID. Dr. Kremer received his PhD in Economics from Harvard University. He is a member of the board of Precision Agriculture for Development.
On Friday, the Nobel committee awarded the Peace Prize to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for his efforts to resolve the long-running conflict with neighbouring foe Eritrea.