Who will win the Nobel Prize in economics this year?

I’ve never once gotten it right, at least not for exact timing, so my apologies to anyone I pick (sorry Bill Baumol!).  Nonetheless this year I am in for Esther Duflo and Abihijit Banerjee, possibly with Michael Kremer, for randomized control trials in development economics.

Maybe they are too young, as Tim Harford points out, so my back-up pick remains an environmental prize for Bill Nordhaus, Partha Dasgupta, and Marty Weitzman.

What do you all predict?



How many can resurrect an ailing theory the way Trump has resurrected supply side economics? :D

Trump should win if it was a fair contest. My guess is it will be a socialist.

Mark Granovetter for his contribution to a better sociological grounding of economics thinking

I hear that Christine Blasey Ford has a "very credible" shot at it.

No. The Nobel Committee feels her best work is “strong in theory but weak in evidence.”

Not List to go along with Duflo and Banerjee?

Great question. I guess because Tyler has a competing textbook with List.

In before that guy who posts here only once a year says "There is no Nobel prize in economics..."

Indeed. It's not "the Nobel Prize in economics" but "The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel". Small point perhaps but some people get really angry over this.


It ain't a science.

You embarrass yourself, every year, crashing the party.

Get your own fucking prize.

Literature isn't a science either...

No, but it's respectable. Economics is a farce.

The Swedish State Bank Prize for Assuaging the Physics Envy of Economists.

Which is droll in a way as Physics isn't top dog science any more anyway. Molecular Biology/Cell Biology/Genetics fills that role. And it doesn't have a Nobel Prize either. It makes do, from time to time, with the Chemistry Prize and the Medicine/Physiology Prize.

There's a thought. Why don't Economists make a pitch to win the Literature or Peace Prizes? Perhaps because they tend to be lousy writers and are always arguing like ferrets in a sack?

Actually, it seems as if certain economists with an online presence have now decided that talking about the original Nobels is not worth any time at all, compared to occasional mention in the past. Though at least this time, the post title no longer includes 'economic science,' like last year.

The envy seems to be ebbing - possibly because the idea of science itself is no longer as attractive as it was in the past.

Paul Romer
Sadly I’m probably cursing him by putting him on the MR list

ding ding ding

Hernando de Soto for his work on land ownership. Backup pick Dambisa Moyo for her work on the failure of foreign aid.

Too political, not an economist, and not enough of an original contribution (dor discovering the idea that property rights might be important for investment...?). His stuff makes for a good breezy read but policy ideas don't hold up all that well empirically (the idea that titling land will unlock credit markets... Not too many credible impact evaluations of that idea to start with and the ones that are out there tend to find impacts of property titling on other things but hardly ever a substantial credit supply response). His think tanks and institutes have made millions peddling sometimes controversial policy ideas without much data to show they've accomplished much. So no way.

Yes, indeed, De Soto did spark an incredible backlash, and one that is revealing. Despite all the criticism, he remains incredibly influential:

"To answer the question posed in the title of this paper: yes, despite all criticism, we argue that much is left from the ideas of de Soto, but not particular from the angle ‘give the poor a title and they will get mortgages and escape from poverty’. Indeed, after all critiques this appears a ‘silver bullet’ that does not exist. We see it more likely from the angle of fair and accountable government, which aim at good performance and at demonstrating political will.
Yes, much is left from the ideas of de Soto, we believe: further marginalization and negation of the poor is not acceptable, their life cannot remain in the informal sector, provided that governments are capable and willing to create a formal sector that can
provide also the poor and the marginalized with opportunities to escape from poverty and to enhance their livelihood using their land assets, labour and savings as a vehicle."

One can easily see De Soto's influence in perhaps the most important public policy book published in the United States so far this century, Naomi Schaefer Riley's The New Trail of Tears: How Washington Is Destroying American Indians.

The idea of development economists working in the US, with the condition its tribal reservations are in, winning a Nobel prize is actually horrifying.

Whomever has "a spirit of inquiry and investigation respecting our miseries and wretchedness in this REPUBLICAN LAND OF LIBERTY!!!!!!" - David Walker

Anne Krueger. Maybe with Jagdish Bhagwati and/or Janos Kornai.

Or Claudia Goldin and Deirdre McCloskey.

Krueger's work on rent seeking while important was not uniquely original (at the least she'd have to share it with Bhagwati and others....e.g. TN Srinivasan or A Panagariya whose contributions to econ seen at least as important as hers ). Her main policy contribution, as chief economist at the World Bank in the 80s, is to have been a key intellectual architect of aid conditionality and neoliberal economic reforms imposed following the debt crises of the time. Not exactly universally accepted as great. So too political and controversial. One can think of other female economists more deserving.

The rent seeking award should have been shared between the late Gordon Tullock and Krueger with maybe Kornai. None of those Indians desrves it for that. Where in India re you from, Jecon? What a joke.

The awards have been overly influenced by politics, so that Krugman gets the award on his own because of the newspaper columns, rather than having to share with Elhanan Helpman, and Tirole got one on his own without having to share with Peltzman. The award ought to go to Al Harberger, for having created the public finance fields of cost-benefit analysis and tax incidence. But it won't.

Meh, Krugman won the John Bates Clark Award long before he became a columnist. So unless we think that the Clark award is not only political but also can predict who will become a partisan NY Times columnist, this charge doesn't stick against Krugman.

The people who deserved to share the prize with Krugman are Dixit and Masahisa Fujita, not Helpman.

Seriously? It's hard to think of a living economist more influential in reshaping the way Economics is studied and practiced than Jean Tirole. As for Krugman, it was completely obvious to anybody who studied Economics already in the mud 1990s that he was an obvious choice for a Nobel for his fundamental contributions to trade and economic geography. That was long before he became a NY Times columnist. I don't care for a lot of his politics either but politics had nothing to do with him receiving a Nobel award.

3 options, all in the "They haven't picked this category" category:

1. New Keynesians: Fischer, Taylor, Blanchard, perhaps. Many related options.

2. 80's-90's growth: Romer + Barro, perhaps, or Romer/Aghion/Howitt as an endogenous growth theory bundle.

3. McCloskey and Mokyr, An historical take on the economics of ideas. McCloskey solely for methodology is another wise option.

*Bonus, unlikely but worthy bundle*: C. and D. Romer and McCloskey for methodology. The narrative approach and the critique of statistical significance are both first-order contributions to economics, even if (or because!) they're imported from other fields.

McCloskey's "critique" of statistical significance is not only unoriginal, it's also completely overblown. She's wielded virtually zero influence on the profession. Not shocking that self-important libertarians/GMU faculty can't track this though.

How about Lazear?

Love him or hate him, you all know that sooner or later, they’re going to give it to Piketty.

Nordhaus and Weitzman

^^^ this guy, half-credit.

Raj Chetty and Steve Sailer.

Israel kirzner

Some picks:

Neil Wallace
Paul Romer
Daron Acemoglu

Common sense loses again.

And why is that, jorod? What a stupid remark.

Michael Greenstone under environmental economics? Another candidate may be Mathew Jackson for his work on networks.

Maybe in 20 years for both of them.

William R. Easterly, Susan C. Athey, Robert Barro

Maybe Graciela Chichilnisky instead of Dasgupta in Tylr's pick. Or maybe the picks of either Subrick or Garret Jones.

Probably not micro theory or anything experimental or behavioral. Maybe metrics, see Hendry or Manski or some others.

Harold Demsetz

Duflo, Chetty, Chernozhukov or, and I hope not, Ng.

I don't worry about physicists. Anyone who lived through frequent depressions of the past would tell you that we've benefited greatly from the study of economics. And criticizing an economist is like criticizing a doctor for broadly knowing what's wrong with you but not being able to tell you exactly what day you are going to die. Every field has its flaws, but in celebrating thoughtful inquiry from this particular perspective, I feel that there are too many good candidates to choose from.

I never understand the Marty Weitzman worship. It feeds into the main problem with climate modelling in the first place - massive uncertainty. So, the more uncertain our models, the higher the risk we have of a catastrophic event we can't recover from, so let's shut down oil, and never mind that our models suck and have huge uncertainty bars, because that makes it more likley we achieve our political objectives. Making the catastrophy cost as non-linear as the inverse of the probability tails of the estimated temperature change distribution (which are made up) guarantees an infinite cost.

Oh gag, ore rank ignorance and stupidity on this thread. Weitzman has never claimed infinite costs, and this is not about uncertainty of climate models and it is not about the non-linearity of the costs. It is about the nonlinearities in the climate system itself with its multiple destabilizing positive feedbacks supported by the historical record that apparently we moved in and out of ice age temperature patterns very quickly. The underlying climate distribution looks to have fat tails, power law distributions. You are just wrong, and Weitzman's analysis of this is well done and very important.

It seems a total clown show to me. Paul Krugman for Economics? Barack Obama and Yassir Arafat for peace?

Is there any serious thought that goes into this?

Reading the comments above, apparently Krugman was a legitimate economist before he became the annoying partisan hack NYT columnist.

I'm surprised someone who apparently made substantial contributions to the study of economics would sink to become the Krugman we all know now.

At some point it has to be Paul Romer. Although endogenous growth theory has fallen out of vogue as a research topic it is still hugely important and, now, textbook material. He changed the way people think about growth, and he deserves the prize.

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