Three US-based professors, along with one Oxford University academic, have been chosen as frontrunners for the Nobel Prize in economics by Thomson Reuters, which identifies the most influential researchers in chemistry, physics, physiology or medicine, and economics who could win the celebrated award. This year, Stephen A. Ross of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University’s Robert J. Shiller and Oxford University’s Anthony B. Atkinson together with Angus S. Deaton of Princeton University have been identified as those most likely candidates. “We recognize fundamental discoveries and identify the most important contributors to these discoveries,” said David Pendlebury, Thomson Reuters citation analyst, in a statement. “Our Citation Laureates have made such important contributions to science that we believe them to be peers of the Nobel Prize winners in every way; they simply have yet to win.” The 2012 Citation Laureates include 21 influential researchers across the four categories.
So far, Thomson Reuters has successfully predicted 26 Nobel Prize recipients. Finance favourite Although Ross, Pendlebury noted in a commentary, has been called “the greatest living finance scholar”, having been central to the creation of many theories and concepts that are fundamental to finance, including agency theory, risk-neutral pricing, it is his work focused on arbitrage pricing theory that could get him the Nobel. Incidentally, the last “pure” finance Prize went to Robert C. Merton and Myron S. Scholes in 1997, Pendlebury added. Shiller, a Yale University professor who wrote the bestseller ‘Irrational Exuberance’ in 2000, warning of a stock market bubble, is the other Nobel Prize favourite for his research on financial market volatility and the dynamics of asset prices. His 1981 article “Do Stock Prices Move Too Much to be Justified by Subsequent Changes in Dividends,” was ranked as one of the 20 most influential articles ever published in the American Economic Review , the United States’ oldest scholarly journal in economics. Transatlantic candidate The final set of favourites consists of Oxford University’s Atkinson and Deaton of Princeton University, for their empirical research on consumption, income and savings, poverty and health, and well-being. “What joins the two together and suggests a Prize — split one-half for each — is their concern with precise measurements of income and its association with economic and social outcomes of many kinds,” wrote Pendlebury. “This is an area that has not been recognized by the Nobel Prize committees in economics in quite some time . ” In fact, the last Nobel Prize given for similar research was to Amartya Sen in 1998, Pendlebury added, for his contributions to welfare economics.