The Nobel Economics Prize 2019 has been awarded to husband-wife duo Abhijit Banerjee-Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer. The prize is given for creating an experimental approach to alleviating global poverty. They share the prestigious award with American development economist Michael Kremer. Let us know their journey behind winning Nobel Prize in Economics 2019:
Who is Abhijit Banerjee:
Abhijit Banerjee is the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, USA. A research affiliate of Innovations for Poverty Action, Abhijit Banerjee co-founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab. He is also a member of the Consortium on Financial Systems and Poverty. Abhijit Banerjee has held the president post of the Bureau for the Research in the Economic Analysis of Development, a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a research fellow at the centre for Economic Policy Research, an international fellow of the Kiel Institute, fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a fellow at the Econometric Society.
Who is Esther Duflo:
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. Also a co-founder and co-director at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-Pal), Esther Duflo has worked on health, education, financial inclusion, environment and governance. In her research, Esther Duflo sought to understand the economic lives of the poor, with the aim to help design and evaluate social policies.
How Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer won Nobel Economics Prize 2019:
One of the most challenging issues the world is facing is - Poverty. Over 700 million people still subsist on extremely low incomes. As many as five million children under the age of five still die of diseases every year. The research conducted by laureates Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer, has considerably improved the 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.
The three Laureates introduced a new approach to obtaining reliable answers about the best ways to fight global poverty. It involves dividing the issue into smaller, more manageable questions - – for example, the most effective interventions for improving educational outcomes or child health. They have shown that these smaller, more precise, questions are often best answered via carefully designed experiments among the people who are most affected.
In the mid-1990s, Michael Kremer and his colleagues demonstrated how powerful this approach can be, using field experiments to test a range of interventions that could improve school results in western Kenya.
Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, often with Michael Kremer, soon performed similar studies of other issues and in other countries. Their experimental research methods now entirely dominate development economics.
The Laureates’ research findings – and those of the researchers following in their footsteps – have dramatically improved our ability to fight poverty in practice. As a direct result of one of their studies, more than five million Indian children have benefitted from effective programmes of remedial tutoring in schools. Another example is the heavy subsidies for preventive healthcare that have been introduced in many countries.