U.S. Economists Take Home Nobel Prize for Work on Poverty

Their efforts have helped alleviate global poverty

U.S. Economists Take Home Nobel Prize for Work on Poverty
By Kayla Kibbe / October 14, 2019 10:28 am

Economists Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer were awarded the Nobel Prize in economics Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported. The trio took home the prize for their “experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.”

The experimental approach involved testing specific policies to address problems among the poor, with a focus on improving health and education. While previous economic work in poverty has long focused on identifying specific character traits associated with the very poor, Banerjee, Duflo and Kremer’s work has distinguished itself by focusing on practical resolutions to address problems contributing to those conditions.

“Often the poor are reduced to caricature,” said Duflo, an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “What we want to do is try and unpack the problems [they face] one by one and address them as rigorously as possible.”

Duflo is the second woman to receive the prize in economics in its 50-year history. She shares the prize with her husband, Banerjee. The two co-authored the book Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty.

The award is reflective of increased consideration of women’s role in the economic field in recent years. “We are starting to realize that the way we conduct ourselves is not conducive to a good environment for women,” Duflo said. “I hope to inspire other women to continue their work, and men to give them the respect that they deserve.”

The prize also reflects the growing influence of developmental economics, and is the second award in five years given to work in the field, which had previously been largely overlooked by the committee.

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