Economists Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer have taken home the 2019 Nobel Economics Prize for their experimental work on the fight to alleviate global poverty, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced today.
Duflo, who is from France, became the youngest person and second woman to ever be awarded the prestigious prize, which was given for the trio’s work in development economics.
Duflo and Banerjee, who are married, work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Kremer is at Harvard. Both universities are based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“This year’s laureates have introduced a new approach to obtaining reliable answers about the best ways to fight global poverty,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in a statement.
“In brief, it involves dividing this issue into smaller, more manageable, questions – for example, the most effective interventions for improving educational outcomes or child health.”
“They have shown that these smaller, more precise, questions are often best answered via carefully designed experiments among the people who are most affected.”
Duflo said: “Showing that it is possible for a woman to succeed and be recognised for success I hope is going to inspire many, many other women to continue working and many other men to give them the respect they deserve.”
Kremer and his colleagues in the mid-1990s used field experiments to see which interventions could best improve school results in Western Kenya.
In a similar vein and often with Kremer, Ruflo and Banerjee’s work involved examining the impact of interventions in different aspects of society, for example health, agriculture and access to credit.
The trio receive 9m Swedish krona, around £720,000, in prize money. Duflo said that Marie Curie spent her Nobel Prize money on a “gram of radium”.
She said: “We’ll talk between the three of us and decide what our gram of radium will be.”
Speaking about her achievement, Duflo said: “Showing that it is possible for a woman to succeed and be recognised for success I hope is going to inspire many, many other women to continue working and many other men to give them the respect they deserve.”
(Image credit: Getty)