There is no shortage of likely candidates for this year’s Nobel Prize
in economics, which will be announced Monday in Stockholm, Sweden.
Formally called the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel and established in 1968, the medal and cash prize have been awarded to 78 people so far. It was not among the original Nobel prizes established by Mr. Nobel’s 1895 will and first awarded in 1901.
In 2016, Oliver Hart of Harvard University and Bengt Holmström of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shared the prize for work on contracts and, among other things, executive pay. The 2015 prize went to Princeton University’s Angus Deaton for research on poverty and inequality. Jean Tirole of the Toulouse School of Economics was awarded the 2014 prize for analysis of market power and regulation.
Who’s in line to win the 2017 award? It’s difficult to predict, in part because nominations are kept secret for 50 years, but there are dozens of likely candidates whose academic work spans topics including climate change, economic growth and monetary policy.
Based on history, the winning economist will be recognized for achievements during a long career in the field – the average age among past winners is 67 years old. It could go to more than one researcher; half of the 48 prizes awarded since 1969 have been shared by two or three economists. Only one woman has ever been recognized: Elinor Ostrom of Indiana University, who won in 2009 and died in 2012. Popular fields among past winners have included macroeconomics, econometrics, financial economics and game theory.
Clarivate Analytics, formerly a unit of Thomson Reuters, maintains a list of possible Nobel Prize
winners based on research citations. New additions to its list this year were Colin Camerer of the California Institute of Technology and George Loewenstein of Carnegie Mellon University (“for pioneering research in behavioral economics and in neuroeconomics”); Robert Hall of Stanford University (“for his analysis of worker productivity and studies of recessions and unemployment”); and Michael Jensen of Harvard, Stewart Myers of MIT and Raghuram Rajan
of the University of Chicago (“for their contributions illuminating the dimensions of decisions in corporate finance”).
Dozens of additional names appear on Clarivate’s list of possible future economics winners, including prominent figures on the American economics scene like Stanford’s John Taylor, a monetary-policy scholar who President Donald Trump is said to be considering for Federal Reserve chairman; Paul Romer
of New York University, an expert on economic growth and the chief economist at the World Bank; Martin Feldstein
of Harvard, who was chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Ronald Reagan and has studied pensions, taxation and other topics in public finance; William Nordhaus
of Yale University, who has studied climate change; Dale Jorgenson
of Harvard, who has studied productivity; Robert Barro
of Harvard, who has researched economic growth; Oliver Blanchard
of the Peterson Institute for International
Economics, the former top economist at the International
Monetary Fund; and Richard Thaler
of the University of Chicago, who has studied behavioral economics.
Former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s name has been floated in the past, given his academic work on the Great Depression, and his longtime collaborator Mark Gertler of NYU appears on the Clarivate list. So does Richard Posner, the recently retired federal judge who has written on the intersection of law and economics.
And, of course, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences could surprise everyone next week with its selection.
A few perennial candidates are no longer eligible for the Nobel shortlist because they passed away over the last year, including William Baumol and Anthony Atkinson.
Source: The Wall Street Journal