Who will win the Nobel Prize in economics this year?

by on October 6, 2007 at 9:09 am in Economics | Permalink

Greg Mankiw asks and receives many answers

One guess is William Nordhaus, for his concept of "green accounting."  An environmental prize is overdue but perhaps Nordhaus is too skeptical about stringent anti-global warming measures to get the appropriate reception in Stockholm.

Another option is Eugene Fama, both for testing CAPM for securities prices and for figuring out what is wrong with it.  You can imagine pairing his prize with either Richard Thaler (behavioral finance) or Kenneth French (Fama’s co-author on many important papers).

Or how about Oliver Williamson and/or Jean Tirole for principal-agent theory as applied to the business firm?

I would offer the prize jointly to Anne Krueger, Jagdish Bhagwati, and Gordon Tullock for their work on rent-seeking, but that is not my prediction.  Readers, what do you think?

1 Arsène Lupin October 6, 2007 at 9:38 am

It’s about time Bengt Holmstrom’s contribution to microeconomic theory gets recognized, much more than Oliver Williamson or Jean Tirole, in my opinion.

2 Erik October 6, 2007 at 11:15 am

Naomi Klein and Joe Stieglitz, joint prize.

3 tom October 6, 2007 at 12:17 pm

“Well, Stiglitz has already won,”

and so has Mirrlees!

4 Bertil October 6, 2007 at 12:46 pm

I’m surprised you have Jean Tirole & Oliver Williamson in the same price —— but it might make sense the way you put it. I remember the Coase-Williamson duo was hot the year Coase got it, so it might be that —— that would be a big boost for my advisor.
Otherwise, William Baumol makes sense: whom with, if I may assume the price is not given to lone rangers?
Maybe Fama: the association with Thaler would be an interesting sign, saying that science, or at least economics, is a debate.

Is it me, or, apart from Tirole, none of these are hard-core neo-classicals?
Maybe you are just considering that the balance shifts every year, this year winner won’t be an unemployment or inflation specialist.

5 Tobia Mill October 6, 2007 at 12:54 pm

It is very unfortunate that Armen Alchian and Harold Demsetz seem to be completely forgotten by the profession, as Jack Hirshleifer was – he would have definitely deserved the recognition.

6 Alexandre Padilla October 6, 2007 at 1:21 pm


See my post our the economicsforwhatalesyou.com blog

7 BL October 6, 2007 at 1:48 pm

Richard Posner for his numerous contributions to the economic analysis of law.

8 mark October 6, 2007 at 2:25 pm

Halbert White.

9 R. Richard Schweitzer October 6, 2007 at 2:31 pm

Gordon Tullock – He, as much as James Buchanan contibuted to recognition of the Public Theory concept, and should have stood with him then. But, as noted, he may be doubly recognized for both that and “Rent-Seeking.” Not to be overlooked is his co-authored “Calculus of Consent.”

A collection of his “Selected Works” (C.K. Rowley, Ed.) is available from Liberty Fund.

And, another plus, he, like Adam Smith, is NOT an “economist.”

Incidentally, being of his generation, I was long through at U.Va. before he came, and was never his student, though I hope to have gained something from his works.

Richard Posner’s time will come.

R. Richard Schweitzer

10 RG October 6, 2007 at 3:12 pm

I vote for Fama, because his work withstood (is that the right word?) the test of time the best. (Fair disclosure: I almost took his course at Chicago, and now wish I had).

11 Seer October 6, 2007 at 3:50 pm

I’d be more interested to know what Nobel Prizes you would take away. Say the top 5 economists who shouldn’t have deserved the prize *when* the prize was awarded rather than in light of subsequent economic research.

12 ryan israelsen October 6, 2007 at 4:09 pm

How long will it take for anybody to point out that Prescott has already won?

13 anonymous October 6, 2007 at 7:15 pm

Richard Nelson, Nathan Rosenberg, and Paul David for their contributions to the economics of technological change.

14 Barkley Rosser October 6, 2007 at 9:29 pm

I have made guesses in the past, some of which are in Tyler’s list. I shall stick to commenting
on fields. First of all, I doubt it will be macro, which rules out Barro et al. Why? Macro got
it last year. Phelps. So, no macro this year. While Fama or Fama and Thaler or Fama and Mandelbrot
or Fama and French, or some combo of these will eventually get it, I seriously doubt finance will get
it this year. Too damned many problems in the financial markets. I think the committee is gun shy
after giving it to Merton and Scholes, only to have LTCM blow up and nearly tank the world system.
The only way that one would happen would be if Fama were paired with someone else who is not as big
of a tub thumper for the EMH. That just looks like garbage right now.

While environmental has never gotten it, trade has not had it for a very long time. Some combo of
people out of there look very likely to me. I would also point out that Williamson is the most
cited economist of all time. The others mentioned by Tyler are all serious possibilities.

15 Andrew October 6, 2007 at 10:55 pm

My favourite one from Mankiw’s blog:

“Brad Delong for his contributions to the blogosphere”

16 Rashid October 7, 2007 at 5:46 am

Wistful thinking — for Sam Peltzman.

All the green accounting, one must wonder what offsetting behaviors might emerge in conjunction with the green revolution.

17 ryan israelsen October 7, 2007 at 11:23 am

Well, the contracts “pay” $1000 if the candidate wins the prize and $0 otherwise. Maybe you are referring to the fact that prizes and not money are at stake?

18 Will October 7, 2007 at 7:19 pm

“Here is a futures market for the prize:


It looks like Prescott and Barro lead at this point.”

A closer look at the site seems to show it was last updated in October 2004, just before Prescott won. So it WAS a futures market. But isn’t any longer.

19 edfghtgfh October 8, 2007 at 12:13 am
20 EffZi October 8, 2007 at 7:10 am

Why so little research on “rent-seeking” in cultural economics?

21 Tyler October 8, 2007 at 12:11 pm

Sandy Grossman, and to the above comments that financial theorists, and for that matter empiricists, should not be considered I ask why not?

22 Tamás October 8, 2007 at 2:15 pm

I vote for Janos Kornai (soft budget contstrains).

23 D MacKenzie October 8, 2007 at 10:30 pm

What about Martin Feldstein-Barro for their work on Social Security? What about a R McKinnon/H Desoto/Rabushka Nobel for economic development issues? Or maybe a Nordhaus-Alesina Nobel for Political Business cycles? Or how about a Laffer-Barro-Feldstein nobel for tax-deficit issues (too late for Jude Wanniski). Of course, people would joke about a joint nobel for Supply Side economics and Ricardian equivalence, but that’s nothing new since the Hayek-Myrdahl prize. That last one would be seen as political, but if they could give it to Stiglitz after he shilled for Clinton, why not Laffer?

24 David October 9, 2007 at 6:42 am

Mankiw and Hubbard, for their reckless Economic advice to President Bush and destroying American Economy. They deserve Nobel! No Economist has done so disservice to the Profession of Economics. So they must be awarded!

25 GVV October 9, 2007 at 10:31 am

D Mckenzie,

Prof.Myrdal got his Nobel not for his development studies or institutional economics but for his early contributions in pure dynamic analysis through his pathbreaking Wicksellian reformulation in his great book “MONETARY EQUILIBRIUM”.He was a pure macro-monetary theorist in his youtful period.

26 RebelwithaCause October 9, 2007 at 5:37 pm

I can’t believe the masturbation that is going on here. Most works cited failed in description as well as in policy on the type of things going on in the real world. Ask Bernanke about it…shame, shame, shame…

27 UQ October 10, 2007 at 12:20 am

Professor Leif Johansen
Professor Peter Dixion

Computable General Equilibrium.

28 Anonymous October 10, 2007 at 12:31 am

kevin murphy

29 mv October 10, 2007 at 12:58 pm

My money is on Tom Sargent. Quite likely joint with Sims.

30 DRDR October 10, 2007 at 11:05 pm

One should take into acount the people on the committee when making these predictions: http://nobelprize.org/prize_awarders/economics/committee.html

Here’s the list:

Jörgen Weibull (Chairman)
A.O. Wallenberg Professor of Economics

Peter Englund (Secretary)
Professor of Banking and Insurance

Lars Calmfors (Member)
Professor of International Economics

Per Krusell (Members)
Professor of Economics

Karl-Gustaf Löfgren (Members)
Professor of Economics

Timo Tiräsvirta (Member)
Professor of Economic Statistics

31 john October 11, 2007 at 10:23 am

How about evolutionary/behavioral ecology?…the expansion of economics to non-humans. Several major figures are cited >12,000 times each, although outside economics journals. In its favor is that the theory actually works….plants and animals really do obey economic rules…all driven by natural selection haveing designed them. Economists are SO limited in what they think economics really is.

32 Deborah Savage October 12, 2007 at 2:00 pm

Dick Nelson and Sid Winter. Not a prediction, just a recommendation.

33 Tim Daly October 15, 2007 at 5:19 pm

Herman Daly for founding the school of ecological economics amd for his career-long efforts to instill morality into the field and to pull macroeconomists’ heads out of their collective arse. Maybe Robert Costanza, too.

34 鑽石 April 2, 2008 at 10:22 pm
35 simmo September 10, 2008 at 3:40 am

Krugman-Dixit-Bhagwati joint prize for international trade.

36 gino cattani September 16, 2008 at 5:43 pm

I think the pioneering work by Richard Nelson and Sidney Winter within the field of evolutionary econimics should deservedly receive the recognition it had long been waiting for even among economists.

37 wow October 3, 2008 at 12:43 pm

James Heckman again with Jacob Marschak and Zvi Griliches.

38 Raman October 8, 2008 at 1:08 pm

This time the prizeshould go to finance area and my altime favorites are Gene Fama and Micheal Jensen. Another candidate could be K.R. French or Stefan Ross or Richard Roll.

It has been long due for Prof. FAMA, who should have given before 2005.

39 LeDao October 9, 2008 at 12:32 am

The prize should go to someone who studied the theories of government bailouts or freakonomics some 30 years or longer ago, and please don’t be surpirsed if it is awarded to a Japanese or an American economist again …

40 Per H. October 9, 2008 at 10:30 am

Whoever wins, it will not be an American. Note that neither in medicine nor in physics an American won. When did this happen last time? Ostentatiously, two Frenchmen won the prize for the discovery of HIV, leaving the Americans out, thus implicitly acknowleding that Gallo and his American colleagues stole the virus from the French. This reflects the decreased standing of the US in the world. It is the mirror image of the fact that Americans previously have won an exaggerated amount of prices, just for being Americans. With the financial crisis made in America and now exported to the rest of the world, Americans are viewed as economic incompetents. They should not get the prize. A worthy winner would be Hernando de Soto, but he will probably not get it since he is not considered to be a real economist.

41 James October 10, 2008 at 10:55 pm

I think Baghwati and Paul Krugman should get it this time.

42 Please Share October 13, 2008 at 12:43 am

What is Bhagwati’s contribution to economics ? I understand Romer’s, Barro’s,Tirole’s, Krugman’s, Hansen/Sargent/Sim’s, Williamson’s , UCLA guys’, etc. But what is Bhagwati’s nobel quality contribution ? He is a media slut and a strong proponent of globalization. Yes, there are his textbooks (which do not represent major advances) and his theory of immesirizing growth. Bhagwati’s advocates : please list his seminal contributions to neoclassical or “new” trade theory. Thanks !

43 anonymous equilibrium October 10, 2009 at 2:59 am

hugo sonnenschein

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