The Nobel Prize in Economics awarded to a trio of experimental specialists


The Nobel Prize in Economics crowned three American specialists in experimental economics on Monday, October 11, 2021, the Canadian David Card, the American-Israeli Joshua Angrist and the American-Dutch Guido Imbens, who have light in many areas such as the labor market, immigration and education.

With some “natural experiences” evoking clinical trials in pharmacology, the trio “It brought us new ideas about the labor market and showed what conclusions can be drawn from natural experiments in terms of cause and effect.”greeted the jury.

The effects of the minimum wage, immigration and education on the labor market

“His focus spread to other fields and revolutionized empirical research”, noted the committee of the 53rd “Bank of Sweden Prize in Economics in memory of Alfred Nobel.” The last born of the famous prizes and the only one that was not foreseen in the will of the Swedish inventor, the economics prize, awarded since 1969, completes the Nobel season.

Thanks to “natural experiences”, David Card, born in 1956, has remarkably analyzed the effects of the minimum wage, immigration and education on the labor market. Reward “for their empirical contributions to the labor economy”this professor at the University of California, Berkeley receives half the prize, endowed with ten million crowns (about one million euros).

An increase in the minimum wage does not lead to a decrease in employment

“His studies in the early 1990s challenged conventional wisdom, leading to new analysis and knowledge.”, noted the Nobel jury. The results of his research have shown in particular that the increase in the minimum wage does not necessarily lead to a reduction in the number of jobs.

The other half is shared by Joshua Angrist, a 61-year-old MIT professor, and Guido Imbens, a 58-year-old Stanford professor from Eindhoven, the Netherlands. “for their methodological contributions to the analysis of cause and effect relationships.”


In the mid-1990s, his work led to compelling conclusions about the causes and effects that can be drawn from natural experiments, for example in education. Thus, they were able to conclude that an additional year of study increased the average salary by 9%, or that Americans born in the latter part of the year had better education.

The 53rd Economy Prize puts an end to a season where commissions have thwarted the predictions of experts and bettors, with 12 winners and only one winner.

2021 Nobel Review

If freedom of the press was preferred to the Peace Prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee chose, instead of an organization, to pay tribute to two investigative journalists, the director of the Philippine media Rappler, Maria Ressa, and the editor-in-chief of the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta. , Dmitri Muratov.

The literature prize went to Abdulrazak Gurnah, a Tanzanian novelist living in exile in the United Kingdom, again a surprise.

In medicine, messenger RNA vaccines against Covid-19 have not resulted in prices. The award crowned American researchers David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for their work on tactile nerve receptors.

The physics prize went to two climate experts for the first time, the German Klaus Hasselman and the American-Japanese Syukuro Manabe, as well as the Italian theorist Giorgio Parisi.

Finally, the chemistry award crowned a duo of pioneers of a new type of catalyst, the German Benjamin List and the American-Scottish David MacMillan.

The Covid obliges, the winners of the awards will not go to Stockholm for the traditional ceremony on December 10, as last year. There is little hope left for the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, with a decision expected in the coming days.

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