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Outsiders challenge Chicago school for Nobel economics prize

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10th-Oct-2017       
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AFP, Stockholm :
The 2017 Nobel season wraps up Monday with the economics prize, which could this year honour fields rarely awarded by the committee, such as development economics or French economist Esther Duflo's research on poverty.
The Nobel Economics Prize was created by the Swedish central bank "in memory of Alfred Nobel" and first awarded in 1969, unlike the other prizes which were created in his last will and testament and first awarded in 1901.
The winner of this year's economics prize will be announced on Monday at 11:45 am (0945 GMT) in Stockholm.
The award will round off a week of prize announcements, including the literature prize to Kazuo Ishiguro, Britain's Japan-born author best known for "The Remains of the Day", and the peace prize to anti-nuclear campaigners ICAN, a coalition of NGOs.
Last year's economics prize went to British-American economist Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmstrom of Finland for their groundbreaking research on contract theory, which has helped design insurance policies and executive pay.
This year, several names have been making the rounds in the media and in academic circles as possible winners.
Economist Avner Offer, co-author of the 2016 book "The Nobel Factor" written with Gabriel Soderberg, said he could see the prize going to France's Esther Duflo, a 44-year-old professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an expert on development policy-a field honoured with a Nobel only twice in 48 years.
"She is a pioneer of the randomised controlled trials (RCTs) method which has been a major trend in economics in the last 20 years," Offer told AFP.
A technique inspired by RCTs in medicine to test the effectiveness of drugs, the method uses two groups (a randomly chosen group and a control group) in an experiment setting to measure the impact of poverty, health, and education programmes.
If she were to win the Nobel, Duflo would be only the second woman awarded the economics prize, after Elinor Ostrom of the US in 2009.
Economics is perhaps the Nobel discipline where a laureate's profile is easiest to guess: a man over the age of 55, who is an American citizen.

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