Indian-born economist Abhijit Banerjee, his French-American wife Esther Duflo and the US’ Michael Kremer on Monday were awarded the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.”
“The research conducted by the 2019 Economic Sciences laureates has considerably improved our 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,” a statement from the Nobel Prize Twitter handle said.
The three economists have introduced a new approach to obtaining reliable answers about the best ways to fight global poverty.
“It divides the issue into smaller, more manageable questions – for example, the most effective interventions for improving child health,” the statement added.
“Over 700 million people still subsist on extremely low incomes. Every year, five million children still die before their fifth birthday, often from diseases that could be prevented or cured with relatively cheap and simple treatments,” the statement outlined.
In the mid-1990s, Kremer, an American economist, and his colleagues demonstrated how powerful an experiment-based approach can be, by using field experiments to test a range of interventions that could improve school results in western Kenya.
Banerjee and Duflo, along with Kremer soon performed similar studies of other issues and in other countries, including India. Their experimental research methods now entirely dominate development economics.
“The 2019 Economic Sciences Laureates’ research findings have dramatically improved our ability to fight poverty in practice. As a result of one of their studies, more than 5 million Indian children have benefitted from programmes of remedial tutoring in schools,” the statement said.
Banerjee completed his MA in Economics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi in 1983. Later, he went on to obtain a PhD in Economics at Harvard University in 1988.
The 58-year-old Kolkata-born economist is currently the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.