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Meet Abhijit Banerjee, the JNU Student Whose Work on Poverty Has Won Him a Nobel Prize in Economics

Born in 1961 in Mumbai, Abhijit Banerjee bagged the award for his "experimental approach to alleviating global poverty". The 58-year-old economist received his PhD in 1988 from Harvard University.

News18.com

Updated:October 14, 2019, 4:32 PM IST
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Meet Abhijit Banerjee, the JNU Student Whose Work on Poverty Has Won Him a Nobel Prize in Economics
File photo of Abhijit Banerjee. (PTI)

New Delhi: Indian-American Abhijit Banerjee, who won the 2019 Nobel Prize for Economics jointly with his wife Esther Duflo and another economist Michael Kremer, is currently the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the US-based Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Born in 1961 in Mumbai, Banerjee bagged the award for his "experimental approach to alleviating global poverty".

The Academy said the work of the three economists had shown how the problem of poverty could be tackled by breaking it down into smaller and more precise questions in areas such as education and healthcare, making problems easier to tackle.

"As a direct result of one of their studies, more than five million Indian children have benefited from effective programmes of remedial tutoring in school," the Academy said in a statement. "Another example is the heavy subsidies for preventive healthcare that have been introduced in many countries."

The 58-year-old economist received his PhD in 1988 from Harvard University. He completed his B.S. degree in economics in 1981 from the Presidency College at the University of Calcutta. Later, he completed his M.A. in economics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi in 1983.

In 2003, he founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), along with his French-American wife Duflo, who is also a MIT professor, and Sendhil Mullainathan. He remains one of the lab's directors, according to the MIT website.

Banerjee is a past president of the Bureau for the Research in the Economic Analysis of Development, a Research Associate of the NBER, a CEPR research fellow, International Research Fellow of the Kiel Institute, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society, and has been a Guggenheim Fellow and an Alfred P Sloan Fellow and a winner of the Infosys prize.

Soon after the award was announced, congratulations started pouring in from all quarters, including by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.

Banerjee is the author of a large number of articles and four books, including Poor Economics, which won the Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year.

"Why would a man in Morocco who doesn't have enough to eat buy a television? Why is it so hard for children in poor areas to learn, even when they attend school? Does having lots of children actually make you poorer? Answering questions like these is critical if we want to have a chance to really make a dent against global poverty," Banerjee wrote in the book 'Poor Economics'.

He is the editor of three more books and has directed two documentary films. He also served on the UN Secretary-General's High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the website said.

Duflo, born 1972 in Paris, received her PhD in 1999 from MIT. She is only the second woman and the youngest to win the Nobel in Economic Sciences.

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