Published: Wed, October 16, 2019

Indian economy on shaky ground, says Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee

Indian economy on shaky ground, says Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee

The winners are Abhijit Banerjee, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Esther Duflo, who also teaches at MIT; and Michael Kremer, an economist at Harvard University.

"It's (Nobel prize) a much bigger and terrific achievement". The Nobel winners found that when parents had to pay for medicine to kill parasitic infections in their children, only 18% did so.

It gave an insight into how people made decisions and how programme can be made to work and the impact can be made for thousands of programmes.

Speaking at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after the announcement of the award, Banerjee said: "It's wonderful to get this prize".

The three laureates worked on the assumption that extremely complex problems can be split into smaller, more approachable questions, which can themselves be answered through practical field trials.

Duflo, Banerjee and Kremer will share the 2019 prize of 9 million krona (about $1.2 million Cdn). "Another example is the heavy subsidies for preventive healthcare that have been introduced in many countries", the jury said.

Bannerjee, Duflo and others found that mobile vaccination clinics in India dramatically increased the immunization rates compared to traditional health centres that often went unstaffed. Would offering textbooks yield the best rewards, or would it be better to offer school meals? This incentive system has ensured better performance among students. They are sharing the prize with Harvard's Michael Kremer. It takes more than just careful planning - they had to employ a smart selection of random and non-random variables, as well as a careful interpretation of the results.


On winning the prestigious award, Duflo told MIT News "We feel very fortunate to see this kind of work being recognized".

"We need to show younger people that economics is relevant to problems that they care about", she said.

The Indian Cricket Board president-elect Sourav Ganguly on Tuesday said the achievement of Nobel prize victor and fellow Bangali Abhijit Banerjee was much bigger than his.

Only one woman had previously been awarded the prize in economic sciences: Elinor Ostrom won in 2009 for showing how natural resources can be managed jointly without regulation in a way that is "both economically and ecologically sustainable", according to the Nobel Prize website. "Once press conferences happen and news spread to India and Europe, I had no chance [to sleep for long]", the Nobel laureate was heard saying in a four-minute-long audio clip posted by the Nobel Committee on their YouTube channel.

It's hard to say just how much the research of this group influenced the world, but their impact can not be understated.

He said about 400 professors are associated in some way with J-PAL " s work and are doing randomised control trials on issues as diverse as United States school in the Appalachia to governance problems in Indonesia, getting children immunised in India and getting children under bed nets in Sub Saharan Africa. It is an important reminder that sometimes, it is possible to draw a straight line from research to policy.

Constant collaborative engagement with different stakeholders provides a mutually reinforcing feedback loop of sorts to conduct, design and develop research methods for those considered, and this is something that each of the laureates have always laid emphasis on in their conversations and work.

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