Three economists close to Harvard receive the Nobel Prize | New
Three US-based professors linked to Harvard were awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics on Monday for their work on minimum wages and natural experiments.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the annual Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize to David E. Card of the University of California at Berkeley, Joshua D. Angrist of MIT and Guido W. Imbens of the University of Stanford. Half of the $ 1.1 million prize went to Card for defying “conventional wisdom” to show that raising the minimum wage doesn’t necessarily decrease employment, while Angrist and Imbens received the other. half for their work in demystifying the process of natural experimentation.
Imbens previously taught at Harvard for over a decade, from 1990 to 1997 and from 2006 to 2012. Angrist and Imbens’ work, which began during the latter’s tenure at Harvard in the 1990s, has deciphered how to get “precise conclusions about cause and effect” from natural experiments. Natural experiments analyze real-world events, such as fluctuations in the minimum wage, without the controlled environment of a laboratory.
Angrist was an assistant professor at Harvard from 1989 to 1991, while Card was a visiting professor in 2008.
Most recently, Card filed an analysis in federal court in 2018 as an expert witness in support of the University’s race-conscious admissions practices after Harvard was sued by the anti- affirmative Students for Fair Admissions. Card’s analysis found “no negative effects of Asian-American ethnicity” in the Harvard admissions process.
Card said in an interview that his research in labor economics began in the 1990s when he was working with Alan B. Krueger at Princeton, who Card said would have been a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize if he was alive.
He said his research challenged the dominant assumption in economics from 1890 to 1990, which assumed that “if you increase the minimum wage by 10 cents, someone is going to lose their job.” A study he and Krueger designed using a natural experiment comparing minimum wages in Pennsylvania and New Jersey found that this was not necessarily the case, which caused “a great deal of disbelief among economists ”.
Peter Fredriksson, chairman of the economics prize committee, said in a press release that, taken together, the research of the three winners demonstrates that “natural experiments are a rich source of knowledge.”
“Their research has dramatically improved our ability to answer key causal questions, which has been of great benefit to society,” said Fredriksson.
Economics professor David I. Laibson ’88 said he was “delighted” that the trio received “the highest honor in our profession”.
“I’m a huge fan of all the work they’ve done,” Laibson said. “David Card was one of the most influential economists in the world. Over the course of my career he has influenced us all with his groundbreaking work. “
“The most important thing their work has done is to open the door to studies in the social sciences … trying to use natural experiences to answer some of the most important political questions we face,” said added Laibson.
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