Common sense is lacking with Nobel Prize winners

Clay Curtis
October 16, 2019

Indian-American economist Abhijit Banerjee, his French-American wife Esther Duflo, who was a former advisor to USA's ex-president Barack Obama, and Micheal Kremmer from the U.S. won the 2019 Nobel Prize for Economics on Monday for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.

"The essence of our research is, our goal, is to make sure the fight against poverty is based on scientific evidence", said Esther Duflo, the second woman to win the prize, over the phone at the press conference.

The economist who had warned that India was riding a tiger and there was no use pretending there is no crisis, was none other than Dr Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The academy said the winners had shown there was a need to adopt new approaches in the fight against poverty that were based on field trials rather than prejudice or the failed methods of the past.

The three found efficient ways of combating poverty by breaking down hard issues into smaller, more manageable questions, which can then be answered through field experiments, the jury said.

Tuesday's announcement of the Economics Prize wraps up the 2019 Nobel season.

During his days as a student at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Abhijit Banerjee spent ten days in Delhi's Tihar jail after he participated in a protest.

Kremer, 54 was born in the United states and earned his doctorate from Harvard University in 1992, where he is now the Gates Professor of Developing Societies.

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For instance, they looked at which investments have the biggest impacts on the lives of the poorest people in countries such as India and Africa. Esther Duflo is only the second woman to have won the economics prize since 1969.

Banerjee was one of the advisers to the Congress Party in this years elections in moulding the Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY) programme it proposed to give a minimum guaranteed income to 20 per cent poorest people or 50 million families in India. For example, if the government of a given state has come out with a new advanced technological tool to enable better learning outcomes for school students belonging to a specific class-grade (say, between grade six and eight), RCT would involve sampling a quantum from the total number of schools where the scheme needs to be actually implemented. The government has a particular view that all data inconvenient to it are wrong.

On Friday, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed won the Peace Prize for his efforts to resolve the long-running conflict with neighbouring foe Eritrea.

Duflo said the award shows that "it is possible for a woman to succeed and be recognized for success".

Duflo is a French economist and her research has focused on microeconomic issues in developing countries, including household behavior, education, access to finance, health, and policy evaluation.

Ms Duflo - who was woken with the news yesterday by Goran Hansson, secretary general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences - said that getting the prize was "incredibly humbling". The three scientists will receive a cash prize of nine million Swedish crowns (over 830,000 euros), a gold medal and a diploma.

The Nobel economics prize - technically known as the Sveriges Riksbank Prize - is the only award not created by philanthropist Alfred Nobel.

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