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Thursday, Nov 21, 2019

Abhijit Banerjee explains why he promptly went back to sleep after Nobel winning call

Banerjee, his French-American wife Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer bagged the award for their “experimental approach to alleviating global poverty”.

india Updated: Oct 15, 2019 09:09 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee and his French-American wife Esther Duflo. Both of them are joint winners for the 2019 Nobel Prize for Economics along with Michael Kremer.
Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee and his French-American wife Esther Duflo. Both of them are joint winners for the 2019 Nobel Prize for Economics along with Michael Kremer. (ANI PHOTO.)
         

Indian-American economist Abhijit Banerjee promptly went back to sleep after he was informed about his stupendous win fearing “an assault to the system” since the news about his winning this year’s Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences came in early on Monday morning.

“Yes. It was very early in the morning. I’m not an early morning person. I figured it would be an assault to the system if I don’t continue my sleep,” Banerjee said in an interview with NobelPrize.org, according to news agency PTI.

The announcement for the Nobel Prize for Economics was made at 6 am New York time on Monday.

Banerjee, his French-American wife Esther Duflo, and Michael Kremer bagged the award for their “experimental approach to alleviating global poverty”. After winning the coveted prize, Duflo has become the second female economics winner in the 50-year history of the Nobel Prize for Economics. At 46, she is also the youngest recipient.

“It is wonderful to get this prize. It is a prize for the entire movement,” Banerjee said after receiving the news from Stockholm.

In the history of the prize, only five other married couples have won the Nobel together. When asked about his reaction to winning the coveted award jointly with his wife, Banerjee said, “It’s sort of been an entire family enterprise in the sense between JPAL and the research and working at MIT. There’s lots of dimensions of the work that just becomes much more pleasant when you do it with your partner.” He also called the joint win “special”.

In India, Banerjee’s groundbreaking work on education in low-income countries has changed the lives of lakhs of children studying in Delhi government schools. Soon after the prize was announced, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was among the first few political leaders to laud Banerjee’s work.

Banerjee was educated at the University of Calcutta, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D in 1988. He is currently the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the US-based Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).