Indian-origin economist in trio selected for 2019 Economics Nobel

Mumbai-born Abhijit Banerjee, wife Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer won the prize for their approach to fight global poverty 

By DTE Staff
Published: Monday 14 October 2019
2019 Nobel Prize in Economics. Photo: Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer have been awarded Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty”, according to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Mumbai-born Banerjee along with his wife Duflo, a French-American, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Kremer, from the Harvard University, introduced a novel experiment-based approach to fight global poverty, read the statement on the website.

The approach, which transformed the development economics field, involves “dividing the issue into smaller, more manageable, questions — for example, the most effective interventions for improving educational outcomes or child health.”

These questions can be answered by carefully designed experiments among people most affected.

Kremer and his team, first experimented the approach to improve school results in western Kenya in the mid-1990s.

The approach was soon scaled to other issues and in other countries by Banerjee and Duflo. “Their experimental research methods now entirely dominate development economics,” the statement said.

“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,” it added.

It was also successfully implemented in introducing heavy subsidies for preventive healthcare in many countries.

Alleviation of poverty is also mandated under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG-1). More than 700 million people still subsist on extremely low incomes. Around 550 million people will be under extreme poverty in 2030, according to the World Bank.

The prize money of nine million Swedish krona will be shared equally between the Laureates, the statement noted.

Also read: ‘Rethink economics of poverty’

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