David Card, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens win the 2021 Nobel Prize in Economics
Portrait of the three winners of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Economics.SWEDISH ACADEMY OF SCIENCES (Europa Press)

The Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded this Monday the Canadian David Card, the American Joshua Angrist and the Dutch-American Guido Imbens with the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2021, more commonly known as the Nobel Prize in Economics. . The jury thus recognizes Card for his research on his “empirical contributions in the field of labor economics”, and Angrist and Imbens for their “methodological contributions in the analysis of causal relationships”.

Beyond the indisputable reputational leap involved in receiving the distinction, it is endowed with 10 million Swedish crowns (almost one million euros). Half of that amount will go to Card, a professor at the University of Berkeley and the other half will be shared between Angrist and Imbens, who work respectively at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford University. The award ceremony will be on December 10 in Stockholm.

“This year’s awardees have provided us with new insights into the job market and shown what conclusions about cause and effect can be drawn from natural experiments. His approach has been extended to other fields and revolutionized empirical research ”, the jury of the Swedish Academy has valued. Two of the three winners have American passports (Angrist and Imbens), a constant since the award began: more than half of those awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics to date are of that nationality. As is also customary, all three teach and do research at universities located in the United States.

This year’s edition, which closes this award, has been characterized by the absence of women’s names among the winners: only one woman, the Filipino journalist Maria Ressa, appeared on the list of winners. In the specific case of the discipline of Economics, it has only fallen on two women since its creation, more than five decades ago: the American Elinor Ostrom (who prevailed in 2009) and the French Esther Duflo (2019). The jury must choose in each edition for “between 250 and 300 clear candidates” for the Nobel Prize in Economics, according to the figures it handles. Hubert Fromlet, professor at Linnaeus University (Växjö, Sweden).

The intrahistory of the award

Although it is colloquially known as the Nobel Prize in Economics, in fact it is not a Nobel as such but the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. Economics was not among the original disciplines to which the prize was awarded annually, since Alfred Nobel himself, its creator, did not include it among the five chosen categories: Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature and Peace. However, in 1969, almost 70 years after the first award ceremony, the Swedish central bank – considered the oldest in the world – decided to create it to celebrate its 300th anniversary.

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