Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, and Michael Kremer Awarded Nobel Prize
Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo of MIT and Michael Kremer of Harvard University, all of whom are long-time NBER research associates, were awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. The prize recognizes their contributions to development economics and the study of global poverty. In particular, it cites their championing of randomized controlled trials and field experiments as methodologies for analyzing how a wide range of policy interventions — in health, education, credit markets, and local governance, among others — can contribute to poverty alleviation.
The laureates' work "has considerably improved our ability to fight global poverty. In just two decades, their new, experiment-based approach has transformed development economics," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in a statement announcing the award. A key element of the researchers' strategy is a focus on questions that concern specific contributors to poverty, such as lack of education or poor health. Their central methodological contribution is the recognition that these questions "are often best answered via carefully designed experiments among the people who are most affected."
On December 8, 2019, the laureates delivered lectures in Stockholm on the subject of their prize-winning work. Banerjee and Duflo each lectured on "Field Experiments and the Practice of Economics;" Kremer lectured on "Experimentation, Innovation, and Economics."
Banerjee is the Ford Foundation International Professor ofEconomics at MIT and a co-director of the Adbul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). He is a research associate in the NBER programs on Development Economics and Economic Fluctuations and Growth.
Duflo is the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at MIT and a co-director of JPAL. She is a research associate in four NBER programs: Economics of Aging, Children, Development Economics, and Education.
Michael Kremer, the Gates Professor of Developing Societies at Harvard, is also a research associate in four NBER programs: Children, Development Economics, Economic Fluctuations and Growth, and Education.
With this year's awards, 32 current or past NBER research affiliates have received the Nobel Prize: William Nordhaus and Paul Romer, 2018; Richard Thaler, 2017; Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmström, 2016; Angus Deaton, 2015; Lars Hansen and Robert Shiller, 2013; Alvin Roth, 2012; Thomas Sargent and Christopher Sims, 2011; Peter Diamond, 2010; Paul Krugman, 2008; Edward C. Prescott and Finn Kydland, 2004; Robert F. Engle, 2003; Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2001; James J. Heckman and Daniel L. McFadden, 2000; Robert C. Merton and Myron S. Scholes, 1997; Robert E. Lucas, Jr., 1995; and the late Dale Mortensen, 2010; Robert W. Fogel, 1993; Gary S. Becker, 1992; George J. Stigler, 1982; Theodore W. Schultz, 1979; Milton Friedman, 1976; and Simon Kuznets, 1971.
In addition, six current or past members of the NBER Board of Directors have received the Nobel Prize: George Akerlof, 2001; Robert Solow, 1987; and the late William Vickrey, 1996; Douglass North, 1993; James Tobin, 1981; and Paul Samuelson, 1970.
New Research Associates and Faculty Research Fellows Named
The NBER Board of Directors appointed 41 new research associates at its September 2019 meeting. Research associates (RAs) must be tenured faculty members at North American colleges or universities; their appointments are recommended to the board by the directors of the NBER's 20 research programs, typically after consultation with a steering committee of leading scholars.
The new research associates are affiliated with 26 different colleges and universities; they received their graduate training at 24 different institutions. As of December 1, 2019, there were 1,256 research associates and 307 faculty research fellows. With the exception of one scholar who was previously a research associate, resigned while in public service, and was re-elected, all of the new research associates were previously faculty research fellows. Most were recently granted tenure at their home institutions and therefore became eligible for RA status.
Two new faculty research fellows (FRFs) were also appointed in July 2019. FRFs are appointed by the NBER president, also on the advice of program directors and steering committees and following a call for nominations in January. They must hold primary academic appointments in North America.
The names and affiliations of the newly promoted and newly appointed NBER affiliates, along with the names of the universities where they received Ph.Ds., are listed below. The entry in italics designates the RA who was reappointed.
New NBER affiliates are appointed through a highly competitive process that begins with a call for nominations in January. Candidates are evaluated based on their research records and their capacity to contribute to the NBER's activities by program directors and steering committees. New affiliates must hold primary academic appointments in North America. On January 1, 2020, there were 1,581 NBER-affiliated researchers based at 180 institutions.