Abhijit Banerjee of Indian origin has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics. Esther Duflo and Michael Kramer have been honoured with the prize, too. The three economists have been honoured for their research on “experiments to end global poverty”.
Abhijit Banerjee, who received this honour under the Economic Sciences category, is an American citizen of Indian origin.
Banerjee is currently a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the co-founder of Abdul Latif Jamil Poverty Action Lab.
Interestingly, Duflo is the second and current wife of Banerjee who was a joint supervisor for her PhD.
Roots of Banerjee
Banerjee was born in Parbhani, India, to Nirmala Banerjee, a professor of economics at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, and Dipak Banerjee, a professor and the head of the Department of Economics at Presidency College, Calcutta.
He attended South Point School and Shri Shivaji College, Parbhani. After his schooling, he took admission in the University of Calcutta in Presidency College, Kolkata, where he completed his BSc degree in economics in 1981. Later, he completed his MA in economics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, in 1983. Thereafter, he went on to obtain a PhD in Economics at Harvard University in 1988. The subject of his doctoral thesis was “Essays in Information Economics.”
Banerjee is currently the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He had taught at Harvard University and Princeton University earlier. His work focuses on development economics. Together with Esther Duflo, Michael Kremer, John A List, and Sendhil Mullainathan, he has proposed field experiments as an important methodology to discover causal relationships in economics.
The Nobel Laureate had been elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004. He also was honoured with the Infosys Prize 2009 in the social sciences category of economics. He is also the recipient of the inaugural Infosys Prize in the category of social sciences (economics).
In 2012, Banerjee shared the Gerald Loeb Award Honorable Mention for Business Book with co-author Esther Duflo for their book Poor Economics. In 2013, he was named by the then United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, to a panel of experts tasked with updating the Millennium Development Goals after 2015 (their expiration date).
In 2014, Banerjee had received the Bernhard-Harms-Prize from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. In 2019, he delivered Export-Import Bank Of India’s 34th Commencement Day Annual Lecture on Redesigning Social Policy.
Among the better-known facts about Banerjee in India is that he was a part of the team that made the economic section of Congress’s manifesto for the Lok Sabha election of 2019. The highlight of the section was NYAY, a scheme of doles for the poor, which failed to impress the electorate.