Trio share Nobel Economics Prize for ‘alleviating global poverty’

Trio share Nobel Economics Prize for 'alleviating global poverty'
The Economics laureate is chosen by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Photo: Karin Wesslén/TT
Indian-born Abhijit Banerjee of the US, French-American Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer of the US have won the Nobel Economics Prize for their work on poverty.

The trio were honoured “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said as they announced the 2019 winners on Monday, at a press conference attended by The Local.

“The research conducted by this year's laureates has considerably improved our ability to fight global poverty. In just two decades, their new experiment-based approach has transformed development economics, which is now a flourishing field of research,” said the Academy.

The trio's work has divided the issue of fighting global poverty into “smaller, more manageable, questions” – for example looking at which specific measures can best help improve educational results or children's health.

Their “research findings – and those of the researchers following in their footsteps – have dramatically improved our ability to fight poverty in practice,” said the Academy.

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

Duflo is only the second woman to win the prize in its five-decade history, after Elinor Ostrom of the US in 2009. She was born in France and is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Her husband, Banerjee, also a professor at MIT, was awarded the second third of this year's prize.

The couple share it with Kremer, professor of developing societies at Harvard University.

Each of this year's Nobels comes with a prize sum of nine million Swedish kronor ($914,000), which is shared if there is more than one winner in the discipline. They will receive the award in Stockholm in December.

But unluckily for this year's winners, the prize's value has lost around $185,000 or 110,000 euros in the past two years, due to the depreciation of the Swedish krona.

The Economics Prize wraps up a Nobel season that stands out for its crowning of two literature laureates, Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk for 2018 – delayed by a year due to a sexual harassment scandal – and Austrian novellist Peter Handke for 2019, whose selection sparked controversy because of his pro-Serb support during the Balkan wars.

Prior to that, the laureates in the fields of medicine, physics and chemistry were announced.

On Friday, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed won the Peace Prize for his efforts to resolve the long-running conflict with neighbouring foe Eritrea.

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