The 2019 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences has been awarded to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer, for their work on alleviating global poverty.
The awarding Academy said the work of the three economists had shown how the problem of poverty could be tackled by breaking it down into smaller and more precise questions in areas such as education and healthcare, making problems easier to tackle.
Indian-born Abhijit Banerjee is an American citizen while Esther Duflo is French-American. Michael Kremer is also from the US. Interestingly, Banerjee and Duflo are married.
The 58-year-old was born in India and was educated at the University of Calcutta, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D in 1988.
He is a Professor of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US. In 2003, he founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
In 2012, he shared the Gerald Loeb Award Honorable Mention for Business Book with co-author Esther Duflo for their book ‘Poor Economics’. Next year, he was named by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in a panel of experts tasked with updating the Millennium Development Goals after 2015.
Economist Abhijit had advised Congress on the ambitious NYAY scheme ahead of 2019 general elections. During the run-up to 2019 elections, Banerjee had said that should Congress-led UPA come to power, the NYAY will have to be funded by new taxes. He had said that at present India’s fiscal deficit is so large that the scheme is simply not sustainable without raising taxes.
At present, Banerjee is Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also part-president of Bureau for the Research in the Economic Analysis of Development.
He is also the author of a large number of articles and four books, including Poor Economics, which won the Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award in 2011. Poor Economics has been translated into more than 17 languages.