New Delhi: Harvard and JNU alumni, Indian-American Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer have jointly won the 2019 Nobel Economics Prize "for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty."
Banerjee, 58, was educated at the University of Calcutta, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D in 1988. He is currently the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, according to his profile on the MIT website.
"The research conducted by this year's 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," the Nobel committee said in a statement in Stockholm on Monday.
Banerjee, an alumnus of JNU in Delhi, is the first from the university to be awarded the prestigious prize. Recently, he, along with French economist, Thomas Piketty, had advised the Congress party on its basic minimum income scheme, Nyaya, which was announced prior to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections by Rahul Gandhi.
Confirming this in an interview with the Caravan magazine then, Banerjee said: “Just a day after Rahul Gandhi announced this scheme, Praveen Chakravarty, [the head of the Congress's data-analytics department] who is an old friend, emailed me saying, “Look, this is the announcement. Can you help us get a sense of the magnitude of this commitment?” We were not involved in their planning. The WID World Inequality database) is set up for exactly this purpose, which is to provide information to whoever needs it to deal with inequality, poverty. And Thomas Piketty and I are involved with [the WID] together, and we provided them with our guess on what the numbers should be. The Congress is seriously pursuing this idea, asking questions about its feasibility, etcetera.
In 2003, Banerjee founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), along with Duflo and Sendhil Mullainathan, and he remains one of the lab's directors.
He has authored various books, including Poor Economics, and Good Economics For Hard Times, co-authored with fellow Nobel laureate Duflo, Poverty and Income Distribution in India, co-authored with Pranab Bardhan et al, among various other books, some of which he has edited.
Banerjee also served on the UN Secretary-General's High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
(with inputs from PTI)