This year’s Nobel Prize in Economics goes to three researchers: the Dutch American Guido Imbens (Stanford Graduate School of Business), the American David Card (University of California) and the Israeli American Joshua Angrist (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). The Swedish central bank has announced this. Card received the prize for his research into how labor markets function, Angrist and Imbens for their research into the analysis of causal relationships.
The committee believes that the scientists’ studies have caused a “revolution in empirical research”. “Their investigations have enabled us to better answer important causal questions, which are of great importance for society,” the committee said in a commentary on the award.
The committee goes on to say that many of the big questions in the social sciences are about cause and effect, such as how immigration affects wages and employment. “These questions are difficult to answer because we have no comparative material. However, the prize winners have shown with the help of natural experiments that these kinds of questions can indeed be answered,” the explanation says. “The scientists used situations where chance events and policy changes caused groups of people to be treated differently, just as medicine tests drugs,” the committee said.
Card will receive half of the 10 million Swedish krona in prize money. That is converted slightly less than 1 million euros. Imbens and Angrist share the other half of the prize money.
‘World performance with a Dutch touch’
Outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte congratulated the Dutch-born Nobel Prize winner Guido Imbens in a tweet. He speaks of “a world performance with a Dutch touch”.
The Nobel Prize in Economics is not one of the ‘classic’ prizes as invented by founder Alfred Nobel (1833-1896). The award is an initiative of the Swedish central bank and has been awarded since 1969. In that year, the Dutchman Jan Tinbergen shared the prize with his Norwegian colleague Ragnar Frisch.
Last year the prize went to research on the so-called auction theory of the American economists Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson. Their research was about how people trade in auction markets. Milgrom and Wilson have come up with new auction formats, among other things.