Nobel Prize for Economics 2009 Predictions

Update: It has been awarded to Oliver Williamson and Elinior Ostrom for their work on institutions and governance. I was just seeing all the predictions and links on this post. Tyler Cowen got one half right (Williamson, Tirole would have to wait longer). Few others have also predicted Williamson.

< p>As I enjoy my vacation, I see a few searches in my blog looking for predictions for Nobel Prize for Economics for 2009 (Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel is a more correct award name). This year’s award is to be announced on 12 Oct 2009 . I havent come across any website/link predicting some picks. Usually Thomson Reuters comes out with a list towards the end of the September. It has come out with a list see below.

This year’s award is going to be interesting as world  economy goes through sharpest recession/crisis since Great Depression. The crisis  has seen nearly every modern eco theory/idea coming under severe scanner.  So, any pick will be a challenge for the Commmitee.The last time such a challenge was faced is for 1998. In 1997the nobel prize was given to Scholes and Merton for Option Pricing Theory. The duo were partners st LTCM which collapsed in 1998 leading to much criticism for the award. It was then given in 1998 to Amartya Sen whose candidature was seen as non-controversial and was long-pending.

This time the challenge is much more given the severity of the crisis. Would it be someone from Institutional Economics to stress on their importance? Or someone from  Environmental Economics to push research/thinking in this very important concern? I really don’t know.

Visitors/Readers please comment.


  • Tyler Cowen has his list. I am happy that my suggestion is same as Tyler. He says Williamson/Tirole (for institutional economics and industrial organisation) and William Nordhaus (for environmental economics).
  • Mankiw points to a Nobel Prize Pool.

Thomson Reuters has come out with its prediction list for 2009. I received an email from Kathryn McDermott informing me of the same. It has named 7 economists in 3 fields – Behavioral economics, Environment Economics and Monetary Economics. 

Behavioral Economics – (For their contributions to behavioral economics, including issues of preferences, fairness, and cooperation.)

Environment Economics – For their contributions to environmental economics, particularly with respect to climate change.


    Sterling Professor of Economics, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA • Winner of the 2005 Distinguished Fellow Award of the American Economic Association • Ranked 108th in output and 49th in citations, according to Coupe rankings.


    Professor of Economics, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA • Guggenheim Fellow 1970-1971 and in 1986 was elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. • Ranked 35th in output and 56th in citations, according to Coupe rankings.

Monetary Economics – For their research on monetary policy


    Mary and Robert Raymond Professor of Economics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA, and Bowen H. and Mary Arthur McCoy Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford, CA, USA • Recipient of the 2005 Alexander Hamilton Award, U.S. Treasury Department and the 2005 George P. Schultz Public Service Award, Stanford University.

    RePEc ranking 54th as of August 2009


    Professor, Department of Economics, and Director of the Center for Research in International Economics, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain • Winner of 2008 Premi Societat Catalana d¹Economia and recipient in 2008 of the First Prize Award for Best Paper presented at the NBER’S International Seminar on Macroeconomics during its first 25 years


    Henry and Lucy Moses Professor of Economics, New York University, New York, NY, USA • 2007-2008 Guggenheim Fellow and 2008 First Prize Award for Best Paper presented at the NBER’S International Seminar on Macroeconomics during its first 25 years

Here are my comments for each of the fields.

  • Behavioral Economics- I have read a bit of all the above except Ernst Fehr. The Prize was given in 2002 for behavioral economics and I think giving another one in 2009 will be too early. And not having Thaler in the list for behavioral economics would be like awarding another award for International Trade without having Bhagwati on the list or an award for environemntal economics without having Nordhaus on the list. Moreover Rabin is just about 46 now and as per Nobel Prize winners’ age is too young for the award. But yes whenever behavioral economics is awarded next, Rabin would be a strong contender.
  • Environmental Economics- I have read very little about these two guys and environment economics in general. I have to read a lot more on this to comment anything. But yes see some recognition of the importance of the field soon. Till the committee does not award the field, it will always be in the prediction list.
  • Monetary Economics- I have read quite a bit of John Taylor and if monetary economics is recognised, he would most likely get the award. His work on getting rules into monetary policy framework is quite a revolution. There are strong critiques of John taylor but this is the case with much of economics. Gertler has written quite a few papers with Bernanke and is a leading proponent with Jordi Gali (see this) on New Keynesian Theory and DSGE Models. Given the current criticism on these models, I don’t think they will be awarded this time.  

So let’s wait for 12 October….

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46 Responses to “Nobel Prize for Economics 2009 Predictions”

  1. Ashok Chatterjee Says:

    Prof. Jagdish Bhagwati’scandidature for receiving this year’s Nobel Prize is not only overdue, but also it will be a fitting tribute to an economist whose contribution to the promotion of Globalization in Macroeconomics is unparalleled and unsurpassed.

    It would be a great pity if the Nobel Committee gets bogged down in an endless argument in stead of seeing the obvious giant among the great talents in Ecnomics

    • curious Says:

      What exactly is Bhagwati’s contribution. Name the papers/books. He hasn’t made a genuine contribution.

    • Vivek Kumar Says:

      I completely agree that it was a blunder on the part of the Nobel commoittee to have left out Prof Bhagwati from the award that went to his former pupil Paul Krugman.
      It is a devastating loss that the contributions of such a great scholar has not been acknowledged in the form of a Nobel prize to Prof Bhagwati. Infact a trio of Bhagwati, Krugman and Dixit would have been the perfect thing. But now the award will return to the field of international economics only after many years. So the “Voice of globalization” may well have lost his chance !

      • Anthon Says:

        I agree, the award should have gone to three people instead of one. The reason for the sole award to Krugman was that he was the leading critic of George W. Bush at a time when the whole world hated Bush. This has become a very political award–not as bad as the Literature Prize, but still with a definite leftist bias. The leftist bias this year favors an award to environmental economics.

  2. Teddy Chabot Says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jean Tirole win (with perhaps a few other folks given the committee’s recent track record) for his contributions to applied game theory in general and industrial organization in particular. The ’80s saw a veritable explosion in work in IO associated with game theory. In the last 10-15 years, we’ve seen a number of Nobels for game theory contributions, some of which involved more or less applied work. But we have yet to see anyone win for the massive insights that game theory provided to our understanding of competition among firms. Tirole is the most obvious candidate to be rewarded for those advances.

  3. YangC Says:

    In the past couple of years, Hyperwage Theory has become controversial since it came out in 2005, because it has a specific solution to reducing poverty in the Third World countries. The only problem — the solution is one that is the opposite conventional wisdom. A few economics teachers are now giving the theory as basis for critiques. (I am a math major so I do not know one economic theory from the other, but the portion i’ve read makes sense to me.)

    I think the Nobel should consider Hyperwage Theory at least.

  4. Abdul Awwal Sarker Says:

    I think Umer Chapra of KSA should be awarded nobel prize for his seminal contribution in the field of Islamic Economics.

  5. Amjad Husain Says:

    I will say Prof. Bhagawati should get this time


  6. simmmo Says:

    Robert Shiller/Richard Thaler – behavioral economics

  7. Ashok Chatterjee Says:

    Whoever this subscriber called “Curious” is, his ex-cathedra judgemental statement ” He (i.e jagdish Bhagbati) has not made any contribution to Economics” goes only to show his naivety and utter ignorance about Prof Bhagwati and his subject in general. Perhaps that is why he is coy about showing his identity even. Without further wasting my time, I would refer him to the copious reference to Bhagwati’s books, papers and lectures published by Google.

  8. Daniel Velandia Says:

    Peter Diamond -Optimal Taxation and Public Debt.
    Theodore Groves – Incentives in teams
    Oliver Williamson, Harold Demzets, Armen Alchian – Institutional economics.

  9. CU Alum Says:

    I’m afraid Bhagwati’s chances took a real hit last year. If the committee was ever going to give it to him they likely would have paired him with Krugman. Giving it to Krugman alone suggests that they won’t go in the same direction for several more years. Bhagwati is probably 80 or older, so he may not get another shot.

  10. Oscar Zeta Acosta Says:

    why oh why Bhagwati? He’s ok, just ok. Dixit is miles above.

    Weitzman, like Dixit, is an outstanding writer. If he had a column with the New York times he’d get the Nobel right away.

    Robert Shiller, Richard Thaler, William Nordhaus, Marty Weitzman, Jean Tirole, Avinash Dixit, Paul Romer, Philippe Aghion, Peter Howitt, Elhanan Helpman, Gene Grossman, Robert Barro, Thomas Sargent, Neil Wallace, Lars Peter Hansen, Jeffrey Sachs, Dale Mortensen, Christopher Pissarides, Kenneth Burdett, Stephen Nickell, Richard Layard, Larry Katz, David Card, Jerry Hausman, Gary Chamberlain, Charles Manski, PCB Phillips, J Powell, H White, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, Robert Hall, John Taylor, Angus Deaton, Peter Diamond, Olivier Blanchard, Kevin Murphy, Stephen Levitt, David Laibson, Daron Acemoglu, Jeffrey Frankel, Anthony Atkinson, Josh Angrist, John Campbell, David Romer, Greg Mankiw, Ben Bernanke, Mark Gertler, Jordi Gali, Guillermo Calvo, Stanley Fischer, Olivier Blanchard, Darell Duffie, Drew Fudenberg, would all be worthy winners. I bet I’m forgetting some big names. I left out Cochrane and Fama, who’ll have to eat their humble pie first.

    Let’s say it, it’s high time for Tom Sargent and his friends. And if not him, then Jean Tirole and his friends. But in these troubled times the award will go to an econometrician who has a test named after him/her…

  11. Patrick Akpalakpa Says:

    JOHN B TAYLOR, JORDI GALI, Deserves this price. I think this year’s price should go to monetry economics, cos i believe it is the global trend right now, with the meltdowns and the stock breakdowns, i think he did a good work with that and he deserves it.
    I think the monetry theory if put into total application would, help slow down inflation, and pileup the melted storks

  12. GVV Says:

    William Baumol long overdue

  13. Moti Says:

    My bet will be Jean Tirole, Avinash Dixit and Jorgen Weibul

  14. mercutio magpantay Says:

    I think Jean Tirole deserves a Nobel on his untiring work in Industrial Organization.

  15. Sam Zellner Says:

    What about Arnold Zellner for his foundational work in Bayesian analysis and econometric modeling.

    Granted I am bias.

  16. DRS Says:

    Here’s a worthy pair (although I think will be unlikely): Eugene Fama and Richard Thaler from the University of Chicago.

  17. Ashok Chatterjee Says:

    I am not only baffled and amazed but also I am very disappointed at the evaluation and judgmental criteria of both C U Alum and Oscar Zeta Acosta with regard to the suitability of Jagdish Bhagwati for being awarded the Nobel prize. Alum’s comments about Bhagwati’s only chance of being paired with Krugman to share the Nobel was already missed only shows his naivety. Just because Krugman who is actually a student of Bhagwati got the Nobel, and therefore Bhagwati’s chance is lost for ever, is an amazing comment and only goes to show his lack of familiarity with the genius of Bhagwati. I recommend Alum has a short discussion with Krugman about this.

    Oscar Zeta Acosta is another person who needs to understand what an original contribution to this “dismal science” means in the eyes of the Nobel committee. Simply naming 57 (he forgot to add his own name) Economists sounds like a common-room discussion among the undergraduates of a university. Most of the commentators need to remember that in the opinion of Ezra Pound, the Nobel Prize Committee, most of the times sleeps with their body-part from above their shoulders; and once in a blue moon they wake up to reality and select the right candidate for the Nobel Prize in the various fields as in the case of Thomas Mann in 1929.

  18. ECON101 Says:

    I think peoples support for a Nobel candidate should be based on more than just there nationality. Bhagwati will not get it. Id say it will go to Tirole

  19. Ashok Chatterjee Says:

    Econ101′s three-sentence assertion makes three blunders which nearly made me explode with a guffaw! How ingenuous could some people with a pretension to knowledge be when they pontificate that one should not support a candidate for the Nobel just because he is a fellow national.Econ’s 2nd blunder is his prophetic braying ” Bhagwati will not get it”. Who knows who will get it, given the periodic somnolence that the Nobel Committee is prone to lapse into. I doubt whether even they know it.. His 3rd sentence really beggars belief. Poor Alfred Nobel must be turning in his grave! And yet good luck to Econ101

  20. tyler Says:

    I think Julio H. G. Olivera deserves a Nobel :
    1-For his reformulation of the Economic Theory in terms of generalized functions.
    2-For his seminal contribution in the field of structural inflation.
    3-For his seminal contribution in the field of economic cycles in planned economies.
    4-And many, many other contributions.

  21. 2009 (Nobel) Prize in Economics « Undergraduate Economist Says:

    [...] other economists who are mentioned have contributed to behavioral economics and monetary economics. Amol Agrawal at Mostly Economics, provides his views on the Reuters [...]

  22. Ralph Byrns Says:

    Fehr, Rabin, and Thaler all deserve serious consideration. Their varied contributions in behavioral economics force us to rethink what economics has been (the study of decisionmaking and its consequences) versus economics as more narrowly focused on rational decisionmaking. If economics is defined, per the views of some scholars, as focused only on raional decisionmaking, then we are doomed to irrelevance in a world that is increasigly in need of multidisciplinary research.

  23. StudentofJB Says:

    As a former student of Jagdish Bhagwati’s (@ Columbia University), I’d like to weigh in with one good reason that he should *not* win the prize, and the committee may be attuned to this: He is a complete arrogant jerk. Plain and simple.

  24. Ashok Chatterjee Says:

    I have never met JB; but I fail to understand what, whether or not “he is a complete arrogant jerk” has got to do with his deserving to get the Nobel. Coming from JB’s ex-pupil as it does by self-confession, does it not show the cowardice of such a person to conceal his identity matched only by his/her subjective acerbity without any reference to the height of JB’s achievements as a great Economist? One would at least expect some modicum of humility from a student of a great man who also taught last year’s Nobel Laureate Krugman.

  25. David Says:

    It is only a wishful thought, but I would be very happy if Tom Sargent wins the prize. Not only a great academic, but also a great person and teacher. Thanks.

  26. Bodha Raj Says:

    Mr. Ben Bernanke of FED deserves the prize, for his cool and judicious application of economic theory bounced back the world economy.

  27. Elinor Ostrom becomes the first Woman to get Nobel Prize for Economics « Mostly Economics Says:

    [...] Most predictions I have seen got it wrong. I don’t want to take any credit but had mentioned instituional economics in my predictions post. When I said instiutional economics it was very much Williamson that was on my [...]

  28. Tony Says:

    here the winner of nobel economic 2009

  29. Gerdt Corpeleijn Says:

    Symposium on Poverty and Development
    Conference Hall Alankar Bhawan, Boring Road,Patna
    National HRD Network,Patna Chapter
    Vice President Ratnakar Mishra presiding.
    Quotation from an introduction and reply by Manu Shanker Mishra.
    “In any pedagogy there is suppression.The economics of higher education of a formal system in an overall model of primary,secondary and higher education takes note of both formal and informal education in view of the privileged and under privileged sections of the society.With an intuitive knowledge of the market pulse the analyzer can do regular suppression without ignoring the business cycle caused by zeta function of a double sheeted plane and the first, second or third wave.The shock fronts effect the point of vetification in the social distribution of knowledge.In a system of awarding for a reward in terms of gain of knowledge in the 0 knowledge model there is no future shock or tremor in the present if no institution of higher education is treated as the sole point of reference with high frequency.The informal economy is purposefully ignored and formal education is of a degree even with scholarships,grants and loans.Acceptance is a wish of the priveleged only while for the underprivileged it is what they must accept.Between invention and theory there interval of creative ability and false notions.Comparitive advantages underlying interchange of ideas are repressed as industry and trade insist that there interest must be first attended to.An assymetric technology is not necessarily anti-symmetric but effects priorities.Experiences in Bihar or India do not differ from those of UNESCO and world line has existence only in Editorial Board of New York Times and Discovery Channels.”
    Ratnakar Mishra summed up proceedings, thanked the Team which gave the power point presentation and thanked the Lady Social Activist for sharing her experiences with all.
    I can only add that from my own understanding Of Methodological Frame of the Field or LL.B by Manu (Shanker Mishra) check google there can be no resolution without the deontic net nor can there be any mechanical equilibrium in a market economy.

  30. trish borgese Says:

    Trish Borgese says:

    October 22, 2009 at 1:56 am
    A small telephonic conversation with Manu Shanker Mishra,author on20/10/2009.
    What is this the actual import of this comment on Higher Education?
    Commercialization of Higher Education increase transactional costs as the state decreases its role and from an arbitrary set of prices we have a concieved and percieved prices in the social choice theory.Knowledge and Understanding treated as seperate, the price actualization is a supply and demand theory only at extremal values.Regional and sectoral balances are evident as those educated under state subsidy as in Indian Institute of Technologies and coming from a poor state like Bihar has Aspirations to work with NASA in USA and not ISRO in India.
    The prestigious CERN projects underlying theoretical frame underwent a sea change from creating a sun, to creating super-nova, to creating a Big Bang and discovering the Higgs- Boson to now that a Black Hole would be created.What was in the book Methodological Frame of the Field that shocked Cambridge University, UK to all these eminent and noted scientists?
    Methodological Frame showed that a pie subscript 0 particle and the Higgs-Boson as a neutral scalar in a z distribution would create a Black Hole.This pie subscript 0 was something previously unheard of as a fundamental particle in theories of neutrinos only pie superscript 0 was in use.The most important change was trace, retrace and V spin.
    Were you considered to young by the Nobel Prize Institute for a prize in 2009 or was it that you are from an underprivileged region?
    What The Nobel Prize Committe in Stockholm, Sweden or Oslo, Norway do is their business.Why should you or I bother about their choice,newsonomics and Brand names created by American Newspapers and T.V.However there should be a more equitalble funding for rearch.

  31. Prof. R N Yadav Says:

    Gerdt.Thanks. This HRD report is an original work on delta functions and business cycles.I posted a query to Manu Shanker Mishra on global recession and burst of bubble economies. His reply was that it is a type I as well type II error in extrapolation by American and European Economists.I am working on this.

  32. Tom(Car Rental)Cruse Says:

    I don’t think it matters who get’s the nomination, there will always be dissenting voices. It’s human nature to harbour grudges and hold prefererences.

  33. kavita choudhary Says:

    the right person is given the award!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. Prof S Deman Says:

    With all due respect Prof. Bhagwati needs spinal cord transplantation. He can stoop to any level to service his imperial/colonial Masters that falls below the dignity of a Nobel Laureate. For example, in an interview with Christine Amapour on CNN Bhagwati to refute Vandana Shiva’s argument against globalization re: over 200,000 farmers committing suicide he said farmers used to commit suicide even when he was a student nearly 50 years ago. I asked Prof Bhgawati and his crony Arvind Panagaria to provide a reference of the textbook or any research paper but to date nothing s forthcoming. There does not exit any textbook or any article Bhagwati just made it up to deceive the viewers which speaks volumes about his professional honesty. Neither Bhagwati nor Panagaria ever spoke against apartheid or racism despite their claim for expertise in Indian Political economy. Such people do not deserve Nobel Prize no matter how great they are?

  35. Prof S Deman Says:

    Commentator seems to be confused between Nobel Prize and Noble Peace Prize. Peace prize is more political than the Nobel Prize in Science and Economics. Unfortunately, there is no Nobel Prize in Mathematics, Statistics and other social science ssubjects although Nobel Prizes were given to some really deserving mathematicians, like John Nash, Harsnyai, Reinard Selton, Robert Aumann and others for applications of Game theory to economics. However, Nobel Committee yet to recognise someone like Prof CR Rao, a doyen in Statistics who is already a National Science Laureate and made substantial contribution to Statistics and it appliocation to economics, physics, engineering, biology, psychology, biostatistics, etc. I was surprised by the comment on your wbeste that, “these guys are Marxist”. In fact, being a person with Marxist leanings would be a disqualification for Nobel Prize as the Nobel Committee is dominated by right wing Americans. For example, Joan Robinson, certainly was deserving of a Nobel Prize but never got it fro her Marxits leanings. Therefore, any complaint that two French got Nobel Prize is without merit. Look at the statistics how many Americans got it.

    As to Prof. Bhagawati, he may well have been a great trade economists and certainly deserves the recognition. Prof AK Sen should have got Nobel Prize a long time ago but his past haunted him for some time combined with Prof. Subrahamnayam Swamy nefarious campaign branding him a Naxalite (an extreme left) for appreciating Cultural Revolution in his seminal Dharma Narain Memorial Lecture (Indian Economic Review, 1968). Perhaps, Prof. was carried away by Joan Robinson, Bethlehem, and others, a culture of intellectual debate of 1960s and he never thought it may become a hindrance to his career. Finally, he overcomes his past by carrying the bandwagon of World Bank, “Education can eradicate the poverty as china did…” He completely forgot, consciously or unconsciously about the socio-economic structure that made it possible in China. Who cares, he got he the Nobel Prize. May be Prof Bhagwati might get it posthumously or his crony Prof Arvind Panagaria might get it. I have known him personally since my University days in Jaipur , he is big bum sucker (got Bhagwati as as a God Father) who has been aspiring to be Nobel Laureate since his graduation from Princeton. Although his fist submission to Journal of International Trade was turned down by referees Prof. Bhagwati being the Editor of the Journal got his paper through. Bhagwati gave him a big break of his career and now over night made him a Professor of Indian Political economy which never study or had any training in graduate school.
    However, I am somewhat concerned why Nobel Prize is an index of recognition. Joan Robinson did not get it but it does not mean she is less recognized than any of the Nobel Laureates. Hence, success like love, is a many splendorous thing can be measured in many ways, not just by Nobel Prize which is to some extent a political recognition.

  36. PhD Economics Says:

    Has anyone seen odds for the 2010 Nobel Prize in Economics? I’ve seen the links to the (old) 2009 odds but nothing for this year. Do they come out only weeks before the award?

  37. Prof S Deman Says:

    This was the second occasion when I attended an international conference in honour of an International dignitary and doyen in the subject. My first conference was in Honour of Professor Robert Aumann and to felicitate 1994 Noble Prize to Prof John Nash, Prof Selton and Prof Harsanyi for their contribution to application of Game theory to economics. This prompted me to brows the Noble Prizes given to non economists although there is no Nobel Prize in Statistics or Mathematics. Among the recipients notables are: John Nash, Harsnyai (1994 Noble Prize) and Robert Aumann (2005 Nobel Prize). Profs Nash & Aumann are more known as mathematicians than economists. In fact, Nash’s main work is in Differential Geometry, partial differential equations and work on Game theory was in passing. In fact, he has not worked on Game theory or economics since his seminal paper on Nash Equilibrium. I guess in 1950 when he was 21 year old, a Graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. However, he shared 1994 Nobel Prize with Harsnyai and Selton for their work on game of incomplete information and noncooperation and its application to economics. Of course, Game theory has never been a recognized subject until1980s. in fact, first formal mathematical definition of Common Knowledge was given by Robert Aumann in 1972, again a Mathematician although the concept was known to Confucius and known as his dialogue with his teacher:
    “I know that you know, you know that I know, I know that you know that I know, and so on”,(See, last Emperor of China and my PhD Thesis which was examined by Prof Rao). I discovered two other students, Prof T Parthasarthy and Prof Raghavan, well known Game theorists were also Prof CR Rao’s students.

    Prof. Aumann received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2005 for his work on conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis. He shared the prize with Thomas Schelling, an economist. If we keep that thought in background and contrast with Prof Rao’s contribution to Econometrics, a well recognized branch of knowledge of economics (part of Ontology), it far exceeds the contribution of Nash & Aumann put together. In fact, many volumes of published by North-Holland, econometrics journals and interviews attest to this. If one include Prof Rao’s research contribution to biochemistry, physics and biology, etc., that is phenomenal. Although US President conferred on Prof CR Rao title of National Science Laureate and gave him a Gold Medal in 2002 I really don’t understand why Prof Rao was not nominated for Nobel Prize for his contribution to application of statistics to various subjects including economics in which there is a Nobel Prize.

  38. MARK ADAMS Says:

    what are the predictions made by economists that are relevant and manifesting in modern economies around the world?

  39. Dr S Deman Says:

    Thursday, 9 September 2010


    Prof CR RAO’s 90th Birthday, 10 September 2010

    Given the history of Nobel Prizes I was prompted to brows the Noble Prizes given in economic science to non economists. Although there is no Nobel Prize in Statistics or Mathematics, some mathematicians and statisticians are awarded either a Field medal or Abel prize for their contributions. Some of them were awarded the Swiss Bank Prize for economic science in honor of Alfred Nobel. Among the recipients notables are: John Nash, Reinhard Selten and John F. Harsanyi (1994 Noble Prize) and Robert Aumann (2005 Nobel Prize) [Photo 3; Suresh with Prof Harsanyi]. Profs Nash and Robert Aumann are more known as mathematicians than economists. In fact, Nash’s main work is in Differential Geometry, partial differential equations and work on Game theory was in passing. In 1948 when he was 19 year old, as a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh he wrote a paper on economics of bargaining as a term paper for a course on international trade. Thus he went to Princeton where he worked on his equilibrium theory. According to him he was not certain that his work on game theory applied to economic problems would be recognized and received well for the award of doctoral degree in mathematics. Nash, therefore chose to work on differential geometry that was one of the main fields of distingueshed research at Princeton in the forties and fifties with Heramn Wyle and N.E. Steenrod. He, however, earned a doctorate in 1950 with a 28 page dissertation on non-cooperative games.[6] The thesis, which was written under the supervision of Albert W. Tucker, contained the definition and properties of what would later be called the “Nash Equilibrium”.

    He shared 1994 Nobel Prize with Harsanyi and Selten for their work on game of incomplete information and noncooperation and its application to economics. Of course, Game theory has never been a recognized subject until1980s, although the basic concept of equilibrium in a game can be found in the economic theory of duopoly and oligopoly enunciated by Augustus Cournot way back in 1838. [Photo 4: Suresh with Prof Selten].

    The first formal mathematical definition of Common Knowledge was given by Robert Aumann (1976) “Agreeing to Disagree”, Annals of Statistics 4, 1236-9, again a Mathematician although the concept was known to Confucius 440BC and known as his dialogue with his teacher: [Photo5: Suresh & his little one with Prof Aumann].

    “I know that you know, you know that I know, I know that you know that I know, and so on”, (See, Movie: Last Emperor of China’s dialogue with his English Teacher).

    My own PhD Thesis: A Study of Game theoretic Methods and Application to Takeovers, Advances in Econometrics (1989, 1991), Managerial Decison Economic (1994), International Review of Financial Analysis (1999), Journal of Management and Governance(2000), etc. There was a section on biblical origin of game theory and its application to finance published in Blackwell Internal Encyclopedia of Finance, Blackwell Co., 1996. Prof Rao was one of my thesis supervisors. I discovered then that two other students of Prof. C.R. Rao, Prof T Parthasarthy and Prof TES Raghavan, are well known Game theorists.

    Prof. Aumann received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2005 for his work on conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis. He shared the prize with Thomas Schelling, an economist, President of the American economic Association in late 1980s.

    If we keep these game theorists in the background and contrast with Prof CR Rao’s contribution to Econometrics, a well recognized branch of knowledge of economics (part of Ontology), it far exceeds the contribution of Nash & Aumann put together. He was appointed a Fellow of World Econometrics Society in 1972 and Journal of Quantitative Economics, a Journal of The Indian Econometric Society brought out a Special Issue in honor of Prof CR Rao. The author in the preface of the JQE commented: “One of the purposes of this special issue is to recognize Dr. Rao’s own contributions to econometrics and acknowledge his major role in the development of econometric research….” In fact, his statistical methodology continues to inspire and guide mainstream research in econometrics ranging from generalized inverse of a singular matrix, unified theory of linear models with fixed and mixed effects, MINQUE theory for estimation of variance components, extension of principal component analysis using covariates for studying trends of economic variables, characterization of probability distributions, score tests, etc. Further, weighting distribution, pooling and shrinkage, varying parameter methods, generalized spatial median and majorization are all examples of the new applications to econometrics. The length, breadth and dept of his contributions has long way to go. We perhaps see no other concepts used in econometrics as much as the asymptotic theory of statistical inference, the foundations of which were laid by Dr CR Rao. Likewise, one of the most popular concepts used in econometrics is the Lagrange multiplier test that was developed by Prof. C.R. Rao.

    A survey of literature published in Journal of Quantitative Economics (1991), in which Prof H. D. Vinod palyed a major role in coordinating the editorial wrok, shows Prof Rao’s seminal paper on scoring was cited more than 130 times by leading econometricians and economists like, Amemiya, Brandt. Breusch, Chesher, Chow, Cox, Davidson, Durbin, Engle, Godfrey, Harvey, Hauman, Hendry Higgins, Judge, CG Khatre, Koenker, Kmenta, MacKinnon, Maddala, Newey, Neyman, Pagan, Pearson, Rothenberg, Sargan, Tauchen, Ullah, HD Vinod, Wald, Wallis, White, Woodridge, and many others. CR Rao’s reference in their papers appeared more than once in Econometrica, Journal of Econometrics, Advanced Econometrics, Australian Economic Papers, Review of Economic Studies, International Economic Review, Hand book of Econometrics, Econometrics Reviews. Journal of Economic Literature, Econometrics Theory, Econometric and Quantitative Economics, Proceedings of Econometric Society, Time Series Econometric Modeling, etc. In fact, many volumes of Handbooks on Econometrics published by North-Holland, econometrics journals and interviews attest to this. As a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh I read a review of his book on the Linear Statistical inference and Its Applications, 1973 (Second Ed) John Wiley, NY., which said, “it was one of the most widely cited book after the Bible”. One may see the interview of Prof. C.R. Rao published in Econometric Reviews. Journal of Econometrics, and Late Prof DeGroot of Carnegie Mellor University devoted an entire issue of the journal Statistical Science 1986 on his interview with Prof Rao. He received a Ph.D. under Prof R. A Fisher and a Sc.D. on his 2 published papers in Econometrica when he was at the University of Cambridge in 1947. Prof C R Rao supervised and produced over 50 PhD who in turn produced about 250 PhDs. He is the author of 14 books and about 350 research papers of which some published in leading Econometric and economics journals. Three of his books have been translated into several European and Chinese and Japanese languages. Prof Rao has been awarded 32 honorary doctorates from 18 countries from 7 continents. Times of India dated 31 Dec 1988 chose C.R. Rao as one of the 10 top scientists of India; the list includes the outstanding scientists, S.N. Bose, S. Ramanujan, Harishchandra, H. Khurana, C.V. Raman, S. Chandrasekhar and G.N. Ramachandran most of them already got the Noble Prizes (see,

    Prof Rao’s comments on the econometric problem posed by the founder of econometrics Ragnar Frisch plays a central role in characterization of how probability enters in econometrics. His contributions to estimability using the concept of Fisher information play a very central role in one of the most fundamental problems of econometrics, the identification problem. Prof. CR Rao founded the Indian Econometric Society in 1960. Several persons whose methodological contributions are so trivial compared to Prof CR Rao’s received the Swiss Bank prize. Although US President conferred on Prof CR Rao title of National Science Laureate and gave him a Gold Medal in 2002 we really don’t understand why Prof Rao was not nominated for the Swiss Bank prize in economic science in memory of Alfred Nobel for his contribution to econometric methods and theories. Alternatively, following Prof Stephen Hawkings’ recent article in Eureka rendering God irrelevant for the creation of the Universe, Professor Rao being a self creator of an institution of statistics also made the Nobel Prize irrelevant [Photo 9: Prof Hawkings & his admirers].


    Prof. S. Deman, Hon Director, Centre for Economics and Finance, UNEP/UNCTAD & Employment Consultant, London, UK.

    Professor Krishna Kumar, Guest Faculty, Indian Institute of Mangement, Bangalore and retired Professor, Indian Statistical Institute, Bangalore.

    Posted by NewsViews on Racism at 15:59
    Labels: Universe creates itself from nothing.

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