The 2019 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences was announced on the 14th October and we have an Indian – Abhijit Banerjee, along with two others – Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer winning it this year!
Is Banerjee the first Indian to have bagged a Nobel in Economics? Well, no. He is actually preceded by Amartya Sen who had won the award back in 1998.
Sen and Banerjee share quite a few common factors too – both of these Bengalis are graduates from the Presidency University!
Brought up in Kolkata, Banerjee had an exemplary educational background. After graduating from Presidency University, he went on to continue with his studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University and from there Harvard University. While studying in Presidency, he was called “Jhima” by his friends and nobody exactly remembers why! In fact, he was also a part of the mentor group which was formed when Presidency graduated from being a college to a university.
Banerjee is currently a professor at the MIT, along with his wife Esther Duflo, who too shares the award with her husband and Kremer!
A very interesting fact about Banerjee is that he had spent 10 days in the Tihar jail back in 1983! Why? Well he was part of the students’ group who had the then VC of JNU gheraoed in his own residence. So, Banerjee was never just the studious nerd, he was sensitive to the issues around him as well.
This is what brings us to what fetched these three a Nobel – an economic model that will help in alleviating global poverty. An extensive work with a noble cause, it surely does deserve all the credit it is receiving!
Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer we congratulate you on your win and thank you for your contributions! And a special place in your heart always for Banerjee; you have done us proud!