Trio wins Nobel in economics for work on poverty

A trio of American economists won on Monday Nobel Economics Prize for their work in the fight against poverty, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said. Indian-born Abhijit Banerjee, his French-American wife Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer were honoured “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty,” including with new approaches in education and healthcare, the jury said.

The three have found efficient ways of combatting poverty by breaking down difficult issues into smaller, more manageable questions, which can then be answered through field experiments, the jury said. “They have shown that these smaller, more precise, questions are often best answered via carefully designed experiments among the people who are most affected,” it said.

“As a direct result of one of their studies, more than five million Indian children have benefited from effective programmes of remedial tutoring in schools. Another example is the heavy subsidies for preventive healthcare that have been introduced in many countries,” the jury said.

Banerjee, born in 1961, and Duflo are both professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), while Kremer, 54, is a professor at Harvard University. Duflo is only the second woman to win the Nobel Economics Prize in its 50-year existence, following Elinor Ostrom in 2009.

Unlike the other Nobels awarded since 1901, the Economics Prize was not created by the prizes' founder, philanthropist and dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel, in his 1895 will. It was devised in 1968 to mark the 300th anniversary of Sweden's central bank, and first awarded in 1969.

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