And the wait begins. It is usually around this time every year that people start making their predictions, often seeing them get wrong. But then, one way or the other, it’s fun. As Tyler Cowen of MR says here,
My personal prediction (which never once has been correct, at least not in the proper year) is for an early “shock” prize to Banerjee, Duflo, and Kremer, in part to show (try to show?) that economics really is an actual science.
[Unidentified] – Hello.
[Adam Smith] – Hello, may I speak to Professor Phelps please?
[Unidentified] – Who’s calling?
[AS] – I’m calling from the official website of the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, and my name is Adam Smith.
[Unidentified] – Yes, ha, ha, ha.
[AS] – Yes, I know, it could be a hoax call with a name like that, I realize. It’s a terrible burden I carry.
- My first choice would be –
Joshua Angrist, David Card, Alan Krueger
Admittedly, I know very little about their work. I barely work in any empirical field. However, these people are so famous that any graduate student in economics is aware of them. They are literally giants in the field of empirical economics. They have a number of papers talking about schooling and its returns, the effects of draft-lottery on schooling and earnings, earnings of war veterans, effects of teacher testing on teacher performance amongst many other things. As opposed to the randomized control trials mechanism that is very popular in the literature, theirs is a method of testing a hypothesis using the available data. While there remain obvious questions with a methodology of this sort, very often running randomized control trials is infeasible and / or expensive. Moreover, they have had some incredible theoretical contributions as well to the literature on empirics.
In a seminal paper by Angrist and Krueger, they demonstrated using a technique of instrumental variables to the effects of Vietnam war. Their contribution to the field of practical, interesting and applied economics is so great that, I would think, it’s only a matter of time before they bag the prize. And then, given that the prize hasn’t gone to econometricians for a while now, this year could be the one.
- Choice number two would be –
Robert Barro and Paul Romer Once again, these are pretty famous names if you have studied a bit of growth theory. Barro has a very famous book that a huge number of advanced undergraduates to masters level students read. But then, that can hardly be a reason to award someone a Nobel and be assured, that isn’t why I am putting my money on him. Once again, like Angrist and co. I know very little about Barro and Romer. Romer is at NYU and yet I have never even met him. But Romer has a pretty amazing, innovative and pioneering paper called “Endogenous Technological Change” that set a new tradition in macroeconomics. Besides that Paul Romer is one of the rare academic economists who are so actively involved in making world a better place. When I say this, please don’t misinterpret to mean that other economists aren’t doing that or anything. But very often, there is a difference between academic economics and its application. Romer has, in my opinion, a fantastic project called the Urbanization Project wherein they are building new cities to foster faster growth. You can follow the website to get into the details. Barro has equally seminal contribution to the theory of growth and development.
I must add that alongwith these two, Robert Lucas’ name is doing the rounds for his second Nobel. Highly deserved as that would certainly be, I just think it’s unlikely that the committee would give another Nobel to him. Purely by that account I would rule him out.
- Esther Dufflo and Abhijit Banerjee
While there are many critics of the approach of randomized control trials in economics, it has been an incredible contribution to the field in terms of how rigourously many questions have been answered. Once again, I am NOT an empiricist. So I would neither defend nor criticize RCTs, not that I have any bit of achievements to my name for either of them to carry any weight. But I would definitely think that Banerjee and Dufflo have pioneered a new trend in economics that is certain to get them the prize one day. Whether it’s 2013 through an early Shock Prize as MR calls it? Let’s wait and watch.
As for whom would I want to win, I try to dabble in microeconomic theory. So obviously, my preferences lie there. So my favourite personal preference would be the Stanford gang-of-four namely, Kreps, Milgrom, Roberts and Wilson. Any subset of them winning would entitle my readers to a Starbucks Mocha Frapp!
And then, if none of them get it right, as econjobrumours poster says here,
Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro for being able to starve and slave their countrymen..
Let’s wait and watch!!