Who will win the Nobel Prize in economics this year?

by on October 5, 2010 at 1:37 am in Economics | Permalink

I see a few prime candidates:

1. Richard Thaler joint with Robert Schiller.  

2. Martin Weitzman and William Nordhaus, for their work on environmental economics.

3. Three prominent econometricians of your choice, bundled.

4. Jean Tirole, possibly bundled with Oliver Hart and other game theorists/principle agent theorists.  But last year the prize was in a similar field so the chances here have gone down for the time being.

5. Doug Diamond, bundled with another theorist or two of financial intermediation, such as John Geanakopolos.  Bernanke probably has to wait, although that may militate against the entire idea of such a prize right now.

6. Dale Jorgenson plus ???? (Baumol?) for a productivity prize.

I see #1 or #2 as most likely, with Al Roth and Ernst Fehr also in the running.  Sadly, it seems it is too late for the deserving Tullock.

In general I think Robert Barro has a good chance but I don't see him being picked so close to a financial crisis; the pick would be seen as an endorsement of Barro's negative attitude toward fiscal stimulus and I don't expect that from the Swedes.  The financial crisis is a problem for Fama especially, though he is arguably the most deserving of the non-recipients.  Paul Romer is another likely winner, although they may wait until rates of growth pick up in the Western world.  He is still young.  The Thomson-Reuters picks seem too young and for Alesina the political timing probably is not right for the same reasons as Barro.

Here is a blog post on the betting odds for the literature prize; NgŠ©gÄ© wa Thiong'o is rising on the list.  Not long ago the absolute favorite was Tomas Tranströmer, who perhaps should start his own line of toys or have his name put on a school of engineering.

Pierre-Louis October 5, 2010 at 2:55 am

the most deserveing non recipient is Bhagwati!

Kinanik October 5, 2010 at 3:55 am

I think Armen Alchian is the most deserving Economist alive who does not have a Nobel, closely followed by Tullock. Fama deserves it. I would like to see a joint prize to Kirzner and Baumol on the work on entrepreneurship.

Gary Leff October 5, 2010 at 5:43 am

The real question is why the prize retains popular credibility, especially when it’s reasonable to beleive factors like ‘proximity to crisis’ and political attitudes like not wanting to criticize stimulus. And after they gave a prize less for past impressive academic work and more for criticizing George Bush (which frankly was easy, anybody could do it..).

But then the Peace Prize still seems credible to some, after awarding it to Arafat and to Obama.

Skze October 5, 2010 at 6:54 am

I should be surprised that the worldwide famous intellectual property theorician which is Tirolle could get a Nobel Prize this year.

IK October 5, 2010 at 7:54 am

Kirzner

josh October 5, 2010 at 8:16 am

who cares?

sam October 5, 2010 at 8:54 am

How about Roubini, who saw coming financial feces/fan collision when most everyone else didn’t? Maybe somebody could create a Cassandra award for him.

Ian David Moss October 5, 2010 at 9:02 am

Wow, what a sausage-fest. Aren’t there any women economists? You wouldn’t know it from this list.

babar October 5, 2010 at 9:25 am

why not give the nobel prize for economics to The People?

a October 5, 2010 at 9:42 am

Gosh, I just hope it’s not an American. Economics is dominated by Americans, and look what happened.

Mario Rizzo October 5, 2010 at 9:46 am

I wish the Nobel Committee had a sense of humor and could say: No award this year in economics; no one worthy.

Sebastian Hamm October 5, 2010 at 10:25 am

No one will. Because there is no such thing as a Nobel Prize in economics.

What you have is the “Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel” which is (unlike the five regular prices) not awarded by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Picky, you might say. But Nobel actually attached little value to econonomic research.

While the prize may have a value of its owns, it’s a bit like making up a “Cryonics Institute price for Cyronics Research in Memory of Alfred Nobel” and I don’t understand why people take it that serious.

Sebastian October 5, 2010 at 10:58 am

to all the “there is no Nobel prize in economics” people.
Go to the official nobel prize page:
http://nobelprize.org/
And you’ll see the list of prizes includes economic science.
That’s why it’s a Nobel Prize. That’s also why it’s different from Sebastian Hamm’s cryonics prize.

We all know it was added long after Nobel’s death. Hearing that every time get tiring. You just sound cranky.

Regardless what you think of Krugman’s punditry the nobel was deserved and few people with any knowledge of economic research seem to disagree. If you look through the last 20 years, there are plenty of economists with conservative politics on the list – Becker, Lucas, Prescott, Smith, Phelbs to name just a few. Some of them have made their views quite public, too.

I’d like an econometrics price. Chris Simmons? Or maybe some of the field experiment people – how old is List? Or the “design” crowd around Angrist and Pischke – too young?

adam October 5, 2010 at 11:01 am

Lars Peter Hansen for GMM, plus perhaps Hal White or Jerry Hausman.

Rich Berger October 5, 2010 at 11:24 am

How about awarding it to Obama for his work on fiscal stimulus?

s October 5, 2010 at 11:46 am

Hansen/White/Hausman sounds really appropriate. Some of the BLP authors are due the next econometrics cycle too, so there may be a bottleneck that needs clearning.

Could also go in the direction of rent-seeking with Grossman/Helpmann/Tullock.

ZioAssane October 5, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Olivier Blanchard

Thomas October 5, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Awarding the prize to Gordon Tullock would be a timely reminder for this new era.

Barkley Rosser October 5, 2010 at 1:41 pm

There are plenty who deserve it who probably won’t get it, many who have been named. Tirole will get it eventually, probably soon, but probably not this year because of Williamson last year.

I think Tyler’s guesses are pretty good. A real hoot would be if they tossed in Fama with Thaler and Shiller. They did Myrdal with Hayek after all. More deserving to be in with them (or to get it on his own) would be Mandelbrot, although he probably won’t. Word is this is his last chance as he is reportedly dying of pancreatic cancer.

It may be that Ostrom is viewed as “environmental,” which may weigh against Nordhaus and Weitzman. Certainly they are the obvious ones for an environmental/global warming, and the committee might go for it if they are especially upset about the collapse of the Copenhagen talks last December.

Bhagwati is deserving, as is Dixit, but probably they both must wait because Krugman is still too recent.

Actually, I think the “three econometricians” may be the most likely, although Tyler’s 1 and 2 are certainly not unlikely. Plenty of choices for those econometricians, although it is too bad that both Arthur Goldberger and Arnold Zellner have died without getting it. Many believe that Goldberger should have shared Klein’s prize, but too late now.

jj October 5, 2010 at 2:00 pm

I’ll second that: Lars Peter Hansen for GMM.

Ryan October 5, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Haha… Sarcasm, jacob?

Barkley Rosser October 5, 2010 at 5:15 pm

It also should be pointed out that whomever is being forecast by the various official forecasting services and prediction markets will probably not get it. They never do. Thomson-Reuters has Alesina up, but he looks like a dead duck because of Ostrom last year. They cannot figure that one out? And the Harvard betting pool has Tirole up, but he looks out as well because of Williamson last year. Aren’t Harvard economists smarter than that? There is (or has been) some prediction market, but I do not know whom they have up if anybody, but that person(s) is/are probably doomed as well for this year.

Fly October 5, 2010 at 6:48 pm

When is the last time Romer published any economics work of serious significance? I’m aware of his work in the 80s and early 90s, but don’t know that he’s contributed much since. Please prove me wrong by citing some recent papers of his that you think are noteworthy.

Dan Cole October 5, 2010 at 9:07 pm

I have already expressed my preferences (not predictions) for the Prize on my own blog (see URL above). Among them is a joint award to Weitzman and Nordhaus, which obviously overlaps with Tyler’s prediction. However, environmental economics may come too close to the governance issues for which Oliver Williamson and Lin Ostrom received the award last year.

The two truly deserving candidates who have not yet been mentioned in this thread are Janos Kornai, whose contributions have been too quickly forgotten following the fall of communism in Europe, and Albert Hirschman, who will not get the nod because for health reasons he is incapable of giving an acceptance speech.

JVB October 6, 2010 at 1:54 am

Kyle, Glosten, Milgrom, for their work on market microstructure?

Sam October 6, 2010 at 7:44 am

The “Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel” is meaningless.

A central bank giving prizes to pointless academics have had no bearing on the real world in the last 40 years.

OMG, Ostrom! OMG, Buchanan! OMG, Phelps! OMG, Smith! OMG, Kahneman!

Cue Alladin’s “A whole new world!”

John Doe October 6, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Robert Costanza from PSU should have it.

WillJ October 8, 2010 at 12:36 am

My money is on three prominent economists* of your choice.

*possibly econometricians

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