Who will win the economics Nobel Prize this year?

Diane Coyle mentions some possible picks:

Environmental economics: Partha Dasgupta, William Nordhaus

Update: Twitter folks strongly recommend adding Martin Weitzman in this category.

Growth: Paul Romer, Robert Barro

Inequality: Anthony Atkinson, Angus Deaton

Innovation (and much else): Will Baumol (now 93!)

Econometrics: David Hendry

All good guesses.  I’ll add Diamond and Dybvig for banking, and possibly an early grant to Banerjee, Duflo, and Kremer for development and RCTs.  That would make economics look scientific, for a year at least.  I expect Bernanke, Woodford, and Svensson to get a prize as well for monetary economics, although probably not right now.  It is too close to Bernanke’s memoir and Svensson’s tenure at the Swedish central bank.

Here is a WSJ list.  What do you think?  Since I’ve never once been right about a particular year, trying to pick someone would only curse them.  The award will come this Monday of course.


Diamond won it already in 2010



I never realized there were two diamonds.

That just means DeBeers is doing a good job.

Isn't DeBeers supposed to restrict supply?

Behavioral economics had a growing influence inside economics and outside in governments, global institutions. Can indicate one more prize going to Richard Thaler together with .....
Otherwise it must be time for Paul Romer for his contribution to understanding and modeling growth. His work was exceptional and only succeded because he was able to set up the right questions and following these through use of Math - not seeking any easy solution by just making reference to accepted knowledge

Thaler together with Ernst Fehr and ??, showing that the economics profession is more left-wing than it used to be

Misbehaving does not read as left wing at all ... unless you mean human nature is somewhere left of the economic ideal, in which case


Fehr? Very unlikely (I hope). More likely Rabin.

Rooting for Arrow to get a second.

Anyone but Banerjee / Duflo. They need an over-hyped economist of the decade award.

Growth and Inequality: For sure, global trade has spurred enormous economic growth in the developing world and lifted a billion people out of poverty, only to be followed by rising inequality and, with it, financial, economic, and social instability. Is rising inequality the inevitable byproduct of growth? My point is that it makes little sense to separate growth and inequality, as if they are unrelated. Robert Barro, defender of property rights and free markets, makes a very good case for focusing on growth above all else, but he all but ignores the reality of excessive, and increasing, inequality that has resulted. Of course, Barro is engaging in adversarial economics, presenting only one side, the side he favors, on the assumption that his adversaries, those concerned about inequality, will do the same. I'm a lawyer so I'm naturally sympathetic to Barro's (and his adversaries') approach, but neither deserves a prize in economics; in advocacy perhaps, but not economics.

@Bob : Peter Diamond won it in 2010. Douglas Diamond is the one in Diamond and Dybvig.
How to interpret Romer's buzz on mathiness? Will it help or will it ruin his chance?

Given the Nobel Committee's recent track record, it'll go to the person with the most melanin or the most extreme anti-Israel views.

Thankfully, you didn't mention the lack of a Y chromosome, though it would be just about as accurate as your other two criteria.

Don't fret, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (RSAS) membership is only 10% female.

Of course there are many other longstanding controversies about that nominal Nobel economics prize.

Nobel Prizes generally are supposed to be awarded to "those who ... shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind". That is a noble Nobel criteria rarely met in award practice, especially in the economics category. Economics prize now usually goes to analysts of obscure theoretical economic models.

Nomination and voting process for Nobel Economics is not even close to being fair and open. Unsolicited nominations for the prize are prohibited. The 21 members of the RSAS Ninth Class (Social Sciences division) make the final choice in October. RSAS membership is closely controlled and ideologically incestuous (what flavor economic and political ideology would you guess a bunch of Swedish social sciences academics would favor?),

Nobel Prizes generally are supposed to be awarded to “those who … shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind”. -

Can we eliminate the Peace Prize? The modal recipient is a functionary of some wheel-spinning international agency, (or the agency itself) and has been from the very beginning. When they get creative, they get even more obnoxious (see Rigoberta Menchu, Yasir Arafat, Le Duc Tho, &c) or descend into sheer silliness (Bernard Lown & pen pals, Albert Gore, Barack Obama).

There have been plenty of joke peace prizes,but the one this year is not too bad. Jumping the shark here, "Art."

You mean and award to some political club which is merely non-objectionable makes decades of awards to apparatchiks and clowns all good? I can see the students at Madison have been getting their money's worth.

"Art," the quartet is not just some "political club" made up of "clowns" and "apparatchiks." You really need to grow up, or better yet, stop sticking your head out of your mouth.

"realizable estate shall be dealt with in the following way: the capital, invested in safe securities by my executors, shall constitute a fund, the interest on which shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the PRECEDING YEAR, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind. " (emphasis mine)
People had to take liberties with the proccess since day 1.

Which is why the estate should be liquidated and distributed to his great-great-grandchildren. The whole exercise is a political farce.

Roland Fryer of course.

The Nobel Committee is not involved in the selection. This is not a real Nobel prize. It was established by Sweden's central bank in the 1960s, not by Alfred Nobel. It's formal name is the "Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences." To be sure, the winners are selected by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, just as the winners in Chemistry and Physics are, but the Nobel Committee is not involved. My understanding is that it's not even a prize in economics anymore, but a prize in social sciences.

Its all about the upward mobility, here, Mr. Smith.

This has been thoughtfully pointed out for the proprietors here on multiple occasions.

Apparently the thrill of contiguity with 'real' sciences [actual Nobels] is too powerful to resist.

If you don't believe me, just wait for the 12 October announcement.

Diamond and Dybvig seems like a good guess and Diamond certainly deserves it and is widely respected.
The environmental guys might win because of politics.
I will comment from Mars if RCTs win.

Ooooo... many Republicans will certainly agitate about Nobels being a part of an elitist global leftist conspiracy if Weitzman wins.

I particularly like his survey of economists which show their views of long term discount rates. Very simple and illuminating. I can't easily find a copy of the paper itself, but here's the abstract: https://ideas.repec.org/p/fth/harver/1843.html

His work is particularly useful in militating for present action to address long term issues, namely climate change.

many Republicans will certainly agitate about Nobels being a part of an elitist global leftist conspiracy if Weitzman wins

Actually, it's an exercise in Scandinavian vanity, and hardly pretends to be anything else.

Like Tyler, I have never predicted right either. And so I have given up. Gut feel, though, and I’m not advocating, just predicting: Dick Thaler. If he won it, my WSJ piece would be particularly easy to write.

Despite his fame, my understanding is that Thaler is an outsider and unlikely to get the prize. Kahneman already got it for behavioral economics (psychology & economics, for the purists). Thaler has documented many anomalies, but Kahneman and Tversky developed theory. Thaler has not coined any key theory or concept, to my knowledge.

Why is Hendry notable? I've only seen his autometrics work, anything else?

Yes, an odd choice for metrics.

I'd bet on the Yale double header: Peter Phillips and don Andrews.

Lars Christensen and Scott Sumner for the concept of market monetarism.

Who cares?

Unbelievable that Baumol has not won the prize yet. Given his contribution + his age, he is the most deserving candidate.

I assume that he is not even being considered anymore. If they were going to give him one, why not earlier? Same as Tullock. He will never win.

Of course, when, not if but when, ngdp targeting is adopted by the Fed, then is there any doubt who deserves the Nobel in economics.

Well I think it should go to the leading economics blogger of the day.

Holmstrom and Milgrom

"Since I’ve never once been right about a particular year, trying to pick someone would only curse them". Dear Tyler: if I sent you some of his nail clippings, would your curses also work on a detestable colleague of mine who might well win a prestigious prize? Needless to say, I don't believe in Voodoo but I've heard it works for non-believers too.

They have sometimes given it to an old guy, sometimes a long with others. Baumol has been the currentl old guy on the list for awhile now, so he is a serious candidate.

Environmental has never gotten it, so this might be the year. I would agree with the WSJ rather than Tyler that Weitzman is more likely than Dasgupta, although the latter is certainly a real possibility. Stern is also, maybe a few others as well, but Nordhaus the clearly most likely for that one.

Agree that environmental economics could be a good choice. It is an important expanding area in economics and one of the most important areas for a prosperous society. More on unsure of the theoretical "inventions". Most og the invention seems to be on the applying economics to understand the challenges and possible solution. Agree that Nordhaus and Stern will be the candidates here

Most of the work in Environtal Econ. seems to be rather underwhelming and drudgery though (as compared to other areas of Econ.).

What are some brilliant insights from the area?

The obvious pioneer among the old guys is Arnold Harberger, who largely invented modern cost-benefit analysis and the empirical study of tax incidence. The committee's decision to date to ignore him ranks up there with ignoring Armen Alchian and Aaron Director.

Harberger should also get the Peace Prize for his support and involvement in Pinochet's dictatorship

Harberger ruined his prospects by supporting Pinochet`s dictatorship

I had Angela Merkel down for the Peace Prize, Ta-Nehisi Coates for Literature, and Clock Boy for Physics for inventing the concept of Time to keep everything from happening at once, so I think I'll sit out this one.

Tabarrock for the Tabarrock curve (LOL)

It will go to environment (Nordhaus, Dsagupta) or to Bhagwati

Angrist, Card and Krueger.

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Baumol and Barro. Maybe Harberger. (Just wishful thinking.)

If David Warsh gets his wish it will be Holmstrom and Gorton. The former has been on some lists but the latter has not. This would be a surprise award, but I doubt it will be them, perhaps because Holmstrom's work is too close to Tirole's, so will have to wait a bit. But, they would not be an unworthy pair of recipients.

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