Who will be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics?
The Nobel Prize for Economics is awarded each year in September and is the most coveted of all Nobel prizes, following the Nobel Peace Prize. Indians have received stellar recognition for the Nobel Prize for Economics in recent years, with economists Raghuram Rajan and Raj Chetty of Harvard University being nominated and previous winners including Jagadish Chandra Bose, Hargobind Khorana, Amartya Sen and Abhijit Banerjee, co-founder and co-director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at MIT.
In 2019, Abhijit Banerjee and J-PAL co-founder Esther Duflo were awarded the Nobel for their research in eastern Odisha on an idealistic, yet failed, project to replace open-fire cooking with efficient and less polluting stoves. The USD 400 million project was backed by the United Nations and was launched by former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton in 2010. It set out to reduce indoor air pollution, which kills two million people a year, while empowering women and helping the environment. After initial success, millions of stoves built in India were largely abandoned within four years. Abhijit and Esther studied the reasons for the failure and told the world why such an altruistic and even rational project flopped. The reasons were quite mundane, yet something which the world’s finest development economics and policymaking minds did not anticipate.