For their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty, Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo received the Nobel Prize in Sweden. The couple was dressed in Indian attire, as Banerjee wore a bandhgala and dhoti, while Duflo was seen wearing a saree.  Their colleague Michael Kremmer, meanwhile, wore a suit. The prize, to be shared by the three winners is worth nine million Swedish Krona (about INR 6.5 crore).

Key Takeaways:

  • Nobel Prize for Economics for the year 2019 has been awarded to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty. 
  • Indian-origin Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo are with Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Michael Kremer is with Harvard University.
  • Duflo, 47, is a French-American economist who is with the Abdul Latif Jameel research centre and is Professor of Poverty Alleviation.
  • The Nobel Prize committee said the research conducted by the trio has considerably improved “our ability to fight global poverty.”

Duflo and Banerjee have worked with the poor in dozens of countries spanning five continents, trying to understand the specific problems that come with poverty and to find proven solutions.

The new experiment-based approach has transformed development economics

“This year’s Laureates have introduced a new approach to obtaining reliable answers about the best ways to fight global poverty. In brief, it involves dividing this 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,” the Nobel Prize Committee had said. It added that in just two decades, the new experiment-based approach has transformed development economics, which is now a flourishing field of research.

Also Read: Esther Duflo deserves her Nobel as an economist, don’t call her the ‘wife’

Worked With The Poor In Dozens Of Countries

Duflo and Banerjee have worked with the poor in dozens of countries spanning five continents, trying to understand the specific problems that come with poverty and to find proven solutions. The three important questions they’ve answered are:

“This year’s Laureates have introduced a new approach to obtaining reliable answers about the best ways to fight global poverty. In brief, it involves dividing this issue into smaller, more manageable, questions – for example, the most effective interventions for improving educational outcomes or child health.” – Nobel Prize Committee

Why the poor need to borrow in order to save?

Why they miss out on free life-saving immunizations but pay for drugs that they do not need?

Why they start many businesses but do not grow any of them?

Sanjay G Reddy, associate professor of economics at the New School for Social Research had critiqued the approach to development economics embodied by the work of the recent Nobel Prize winners Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, and Michael Kremer. However, Ahmad Mushfiq Mubarak and C Austin Davis from foreignpolicy.com went ahead to find out that “The work of Banerjee, Duflo, and Kremer has pushed the field to identify causal relationships in creative and rigorous ways. Randomized controlled trials aren’t perfect, but a new generation of development economists is building on the work of the Nobel laureates and pushing the field in ambitious new directions.”

Picture Credit: India TV

Also Read: Wife’ comment on Esther Duflo’s Nobel prize indicative of a bigger problem

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