Abhijit Banerjee

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Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee
Abhijit Banerjee FT Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award 2011 (cropped).jpg
Born
Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee

(1961-02-21) 21 February 1961 (age 60)
Citizenship United States
Spouse(s)
  • Arundhati Tuli Banerjee (divorced 2014)
  • (m. 2015)
Institution Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Harvard University
Princeton University
Field Development economics
Social economics
Alma mater University of Calcutta (BSc)
Jawaharlal Nehru University (MA)
Harvard University (PhD)
Doctoral
advisor
Eric Maskin
Doctoral
students
Esther Duflo [1]
Dean Karlan [2]
Benjamin Jones [3]
Nancy Qian [4]
Contributions Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab
Awards Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2019)
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee (pronounced  [obʱidʒit banɔrdʒi] born 21 February 1961; is an India-born naturalized American economist who is currently the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. [5] [6] Banerjee shared the 2019 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer "for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty". [7] [8] He and Esther Duflo, who are married, are the sixth married couple to jointly win a Nobel Prize. [9]

Contents

Banerjee is a co-founder of Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (along with economists Esther Duflo and Sendhil Mullainathan). [10] He is a research affiliate of Innovations for Poverty Action and a member of the Consortium on Financial Systems and Poverty. Banerjee was a president of the Bureau for the Research in the Economic Analysis of Development, a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research , a research fellow at the Centre for Economic Policy Research, an international research fellow of the Kiel Institute, fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a fellow at the Econometric Society. He also has been a Guggenheim Fellow and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow. He is the co-author of Poor Economics . He also serves on the academic advisory board of Plaksha University, an upcoming science and technology university in India. [11] His new book, co-authored with Esther Duflo, Good Economics for Hard Times , was released in October 2019 in India by Juggernaut Books. [12] He was sent to Delhi's Tihar Jail for 10 days for participating in protests at Jawaharlal Nehru University in 1983. [13]

Early life

Abhijit Banerjee was born to a Bengali Brahmin father and to a Marathi mother in Mumbai. [14] His father, Dipak Banerjee, was a professor of economics at Presidency College, Calcutta, [15] and his mother Nirmala Banerjee (née Patankar), a professor of economics at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta. [16] [17] His father, Dipak Banerjee, earned a PhD in economics from the London School of Economics. [18]

He received his school education in South Point High School, a renowned educational institution in Calcutta. After his schooling, he took admission at Presidency College, then an affiliated college of the University of Calcutta and now an autonomous university, where he completed his BSc(H) degree in economics in 1981. Later, he completed his M.A. in economics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi in 1983. [19] While studying in JNU, he was arrested and imprisoned in Tihar Jail during a protest after students gheraoed the then Vice Chancellor PN Srivastava of the university. He was released on bail and charges were subsequently dropped against the students. [20] Later, he went on to obtain a PhD in Harvard University in 1988. [5] The subject of his doctoral thesis was "Essays in Information Economics." [21]

Career

Banerjee is currently the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; [22] he has taught at Harvard University and Princeton University. [23]

His work focuses on development economics. Together with Esther Duflo he has discussed field experiments as an important methodology to discover causal relationships in economics. [24] He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004. [25] He was also honored with the Infosys Prize 2009 in the social sciences category of economics. He is also the recipient of the inaugural Infosys Prize in the category of social sciences (economics). [26] He also served on the Social Sciences jury for the Infosys Prize in 2018. In 2012, he shared the Gerald Loeb Award Honorable Mention for Business Book with co-author Esther Duflo for their book Poor Economics . [27]

In 2013, he was named by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to a panel of experts tasked with updating the Millennium Development Goals after 2015 (their expiration date). [28]

In 2014, he received the Bernhard-Harms-Prize from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. [29]

In 2019, he delivered Export-Import Bank of India's 34th Commencement Day Annual Lecture on Redesigning Social Policy. [30]

In 2019, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics, together with Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer, for their work alleviating global poverty. [31] [32]

Research

Banerjee and his co-workers try to measure the effectiveness of actions (such as government programmes) in improving people's lives. For this, they use randomized controlled trials, similar to clinical trials in medical research. [33] For example, although polio vaccination is freely available in India, many mothers were not bringing their children for the vaccination drives. Banerjee and Prof. Esther Duflo, also from MIT, tried an experiment in Rajasthan, where they gave a bag of pulses to mothers who vaccinated their children. Soon, the immunization rate went up in the region. In another experiment, they found that learning outcomes improved in schools that were provided with teaching assistants to help students with special needs. [34]

Personal life

Abhijit Banerjee was married to Dr. Arundhati Tuli Banerjee, a lecturer of literature at MIT. [35] [36] Abhijit and Arundhati had one son together and later divorced. [35] His son Kabir Banerjee (born 1991), from his first marriage, died in an accident in 2016. In 2015, Banerjee married his co-researcher, MIT professor Esther Duflo; they have two children. [37] [38] Banerjee was a joint supervisor of Duflo's PhD in economics at MIT in 1999. [37] [39] Duflo is also a Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at MIT. [40]

Publications

Books

Awards

Abhijit Banerjee was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2019 along with his two co-researchers Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer "for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty". [41]

The press release from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences noted: "Their experimental research methods now entirely dominate development economics." [42] [43]

The Nobel committee commented:

"Banerjee, Duflo and their co-authors concluded that students appeared to learn nothing from additional days at school. Neither did spending on textbooks seem to boost learning, even though the schools in Kenya lacked many essential inputs. Moreover, in the Indian context Banerjee and Duflo intended to study, many children appeared to learn little: in results from field tests in the city of Vadodara fewer than one in five third-grade students could correctly answer first-grade curriculum math test questions. [43]
"In response to such findings, Banerjee, Duflo and co-authors argued that efforts to get more children into school must be complemented by reforms to improve school quality." [43]

The Nobel Prize was a major recognition for their chosen field - Development Economics, and for the use of Randomised Controlled Trials. It evoked mixed emotions in India, where his success was celebrated with nationalistic fervour while approach and pro-poor focus were seen as a negation of India’s current government’s ideology as well as broader development discourse. [45]

See also

Related Research Articles

An economist is a practitioner in the social science discipline of economics.

South Point School Private school in Kolkata, West Bengal, India

South Point is a higher-secondary co-educational private school located in Kolkata, West Bengal, India operating from two different campuses – South Point School and South Point High School. The school operates in two shifts for all classes – Morning and Afternoon (day). The school opened in 1954, and was the first co-educational school in Kolkata. Higher Secondary (10+2) education was introduced in 1960. Initially operation as a single unit, the school split into two buildings with the high school shifting to Ballygunge Place in 1980. It is claimed to be the only school in Kolkata to have a Nobel Laureate as an alumnus. The school was recorded as the world's largest school between 1984 and 1992 by the Guinness Book of Records. South point school is the first co education school in kolkata. South Point is one of the top 10 schools in India.

The MIT Department of Economics is a department of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Michael Kremer American economist and Nobel laureate

Michael Robert Kremer is an American development economist who is University Professor in Economics And Public Policy at the University of Chicago. He is the founding director of the Development Innovation Lab at the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics. Kremer served as the Gates Professor of Developing Societies at Harvard University until 2020. In 2019, he was jointly awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, together with Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee, "for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty."

Esther Duflo French-American economist

Esther Duflo, FBA is a French–American economist who is a professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She is the co-founder and co-director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), which was established in 2003. She shared the 2019 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Abhijit Banerjee and Michael Kremer, "for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty".

Seva Mandir

Seva Mandir is a grassroots NGO based in Udaipur, in the Rajasthan state of India founded by Dr. Mohan Sinha Mehta in 1968. The organisation turned 50 in 2018. Seva Mandir works mainly in natural resource development and sustainability, village development, women empowerment, education and health care, continuing education, and children's welfare.

Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab Global research center working to reduce poverty

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is a global research center working to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. J-PAL conducts randomized impact evaluations to answer critical questions in the fight against poverty, and builds partnerships with governments, NGOs, donors, and others to generate new research, share knowledge, and scale up effective programs.

Rachel Glennerster

Rachel Glennerster is the chief economist at the Department for International Development (DFID), the UK's ministry for international development cooperation, after formerly serving on DFID's Independent Advisory Committee on Development Impact. She is on leave as an affiliated researcher of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). She was the executive director of J-PAL until 2017 and the lead academic for Sierra Leone at the International Growth Centre, a research centre based jointly at The London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Oxford. She helped establish the Deworm the World Initiative, a program that targets increased access to education and improved health from the elimination of intestinal worms for at-risk children and has helped "deworm" millions of children worldwide.

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<i>Poor Economics</i>

Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty (2011) is a non-fiction book by Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo, both professors of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The book reports on the effectiveness of solutions to global poverty using an evidence-based randomized control trial approach. It won the 2011 Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award.

Edward Miguel American economist

Edward "Ted" Andrew Miguel is the Oxfam Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics in the Department of Economics at University of California, Berkeley, USA. He is the founder and faculty director of the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) at U.C. Berkeley.

Rohini Pande is an economist who is currently the Henry J. Heinz II Professor of Economics and Director of the Economic Growth Center at Yale University. She was previously the Rafik Hariri Professor of International Political Economy and Mohammed Kamal Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government. Pande was the Co-Director of CID's Evidence for Policy Design research program (EPoD) and serves on the Board of Directors of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, MIT. She also serves on the board of the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD) and the Committee on the Status of Women in the Economic Profession (CSWEP). She is a Faculty Research Associate at NBER, CEPR and the IFPRI. Her research focuses on the economic analysis of the politics and consequences of different forms of redistribution, principally in developing countries.

Mrinal Datta-Chaudhuri (1934–2015), popularly known as MDC, was an Indian theoretical economist, academic and a professor of the Delhi School of Economics. He was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. The Government of India awarded him the third highest civilian honour of the Padma Bhushan, in 2005, for his contributions to literature and education.

Pascaline Dupas is a French economist whose research focuses on development economics and applied microeconomics, with a particular interest in health, education, and savings. She is a professor in economics at Stanford University, holds senior fellowships at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and is a co-chair of the Poverty Action Lab's health sector. She received the Best Young French Economist Prize in 2015.

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<i>Good Economics for Hard Times</i> 2019 nonfiction book by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo

Good Economics for Hard Times: Better Answers to Our Biggest Problems is a 2019 nonfiction book by Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo, both professors of economics at MIT. It was published on November 12, 2019 by PublicAffairs (US), Juggernaut Books (India), and Allen Lane (UK). The book draws from recent developments in economics research to argue solutions to the issues facing modern economies and societies around the world, including slowing economic growth, immigration, income inequality, climate change, globalization and technological unemployment. It is their second collaborative book since the publication of their book Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty (2011) and their first since becoming a married couple in 2015. The book's publication comes a month after Banerjee and Duflo were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics, shared with Harvard University professor Michael Kremer.

Jeanne Lafortune is a Canadian economist who currently works as an Associate Professor in Economics and Director of Research at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. She is also a researcher at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, which is a global research center that aims to reduce poverty and improve life quality of people in the Caribbean and Latin America. Lafortune holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her research interests focus on three main fields, including economic history, family and development economics.

Petia Topalova is the Deputy Chief in the Emerging Economies Unit of the European Department of the International Monetary Fund and Mission Chief for the Slovak Republic. She is also a research economist with publications in development and trade economics.

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