Three economists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University were yesterday awarded this year’s Nobel prize for their research into how to move people out of poverty.
MIT professors Abhijit Banerjee, a 58-year-old who was born in India, and his wife, Esther Duflo, who was born in France in 1972, shared the prize with Harvard’s Michael Kremer “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.”
“The research conducted by this year’s laureates has considerably improved our ability to fight global poverty,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said. “In just two decades, their new experiment-based approach has transformed development economics, which is now a flourishing field of research.”
The academy’s decision to honor work dedicated to fighting poverty, which it said is among today’s most “urgent issues,” comes as inequality grows into one of the most widely debated topics in the field of economics amid a rapid rise in income disparity over the past decades.
Duflo is the second woman and the youngest ever to win the economics prize, which has existed for half a century.
She received her doctorate from MIT. In 2010, she won the John Bates Clark medal, after being identified as the economist under the age of 40 who contributed most to the profession.
“Our goal is to make sure the fight against poverty is based on scientific evidence,” Duflo said in a Web cast phone call with journalists. “It starts from the idea that often the poor are reduced to caricatures, and often even people who try to help them don’t actually understand the deep roots of the problems they are addressing.”
The academy said the three laureates helped shape a new approach to fighting poverty by splitting the issue into smaller and more manageable questions, bringing field experiments into the mix and studying productivity levels within developing countries.
Incorporating contract theory and behavioral economics, their research has included how to improve school results in Kenya and India, studies on micro financing, price sensitivity to healthcare costs and lifting vaccination rates, helping hundreds of millions of people.
Kremer has a doctorate from Harvard and is the Gates professor of developing societies at the university. He has helped develop the advance market commitment for vaccines, a program to stimulate private investment and distribution in the developing world.
In 2010, he was the founding scientific director of development innovation ventures at US Agency for International Development.
Banerjee, who also received his doctorate from Harvard, is now the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at MIT.
In 2003, he founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, along with Duflo and Sendhil Mullainathan. He is the author of four books, including Poor Economics, which he wrote with Duflo.
Duflo said receiving the prize was “humbling,” in part because of her age.
The award is a reflection of “incredible collective work” and the three winners represent “hundreds of researchers who are part of a network that work on global poverty,” she said.
Last year’s prize went to William Nordhaus of Yale University and Paul Romer of the Stern School of Business in New York for bringing long-term thinking on climate issues and technological innovation into the field of economics.
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
RECEIVING TREATMENT: President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai and Premier Su Tseng-chang visited former president Lee Teng-hui yesterday morning Taipei Veterans General Hospital yesterday rebutted speculation that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had died a day earlier, saying that he was weak, but receiving treatment. The hospital said the 97-year-old Lee was not in good condition and needed ongoing care, adding that if there are any changes in his condition, it would make those public. The comments came after rumors emerged online on Tuesday that Lee had died after being hospitalized since early February. Soon after the unsubstantiated rumors emerged, reporters started flocking to the hospital seeking confirmation. Lee was admitted to Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Feb. 8 after choking while drinking
ROAD TO HISTORY: When Lee Teng-hui joined the KMT, the likelihood of a Taiwanese becoming ROC president, much less its first directly elected one, was hard to imagine Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who was born on Jan. 15, 1923, in the farming community of Sanshi Village, Taihoku Prefecture — now New Taipei City’s Sanzhi District (三芝) — during the Japanese colonial era, and rose to become mayor of Taipei and not only the Republic of China’s (ROC) first Taiwan-born president, but its first directly elected one as well. Educated in the Japanese educational system of the time, Lee, who spoke Japanese, Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), Mandarin and English, won a scholarship to Kyoto Imperial University, but his studies were interrupted by World War II. He earned a bachelor’s