Happy birthday Abhijit Banerjee: Interesting facts about the Nobel laureate

Abhijit Banerjee, the 2019 co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics with Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer, celebrates his birthday on February 21.
Kolkata, India - January 27, 2020: Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee interacts with the crowd at South Club, in Kolkata, West Bengal, India, on Monday, January 27, 2020. He was made an honorary member of South Club. (Photo by Samir Jana / Hindustan Times)
Kolkata, India - January 27, 2020: Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee interacts with the crowd at South Club, in Kolkata, West Bengal, India, on Monday, January 27, 2020. He was made an honorary member of South Club. (Photo by Samir Jana / Hindustan Times)
Updated on Feb 21, 2020 10:42 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Delhi | By

Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, the 2019 co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics with Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer, celebrates his birthday on February 21.

Born in Mumbai, Abhijit did his schooling from South Point High School in Kolkata and later got his BSc degree in Economics in 1981 from Presidency College. He went on to complete his Masters in Economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi in 1983.

In 2019, Abhijit Banerjee joined an illustrious list of Indians who won the Nobel Prize that includes names such as Rabindranath Tagore, CV Raman, Mother Teresa and Amartya Sen. Esther Duflo and Abhijit are only the sixth couple in the history of the Nobel Prize to jointly win the honour.

Here are a few interesting facts about him

• Abhijit Banerjee is the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He had taught in Harvard and Princeton before his MIT stint.

• Banerjee and Duflo co-founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, a research affiliate of Innovations for poverty action, along with Sendhil Mullainathan.

• He is the co-author of the book Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty (2011). He wrote the book along with his wife Esther Duflo.

• Not just an eminent writer, the Nobel laureate has also directed two documentary films

• Abhijit has also served on the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. He is one of the experts for updating the Millennium Development Goals after 2015.

A few quotes by Abhijit Banerjee

-- Poverty is not just a lack of money, it is not having the capability to realise one’s full potential as a human being.

-- We must arm ourselves with patience and wisdom and listen to the poor what they want. This is the best way to avoid the trap of ignorance, ideology and inertia on our side.

-- If the rules make such a difference, then it becomes very important who gets to make them.

-- The poor are no less rational than anyone else—quite the contrary. Precisely because they have so little, we often find them putting much careful thought into their choices: They have to be sophisticated economists just to survive.

-- The point is simple. Talking about the problems of the world without talking about some accessible solutions is the way to paralysis rather than progress.

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Thursday, January 27, 2022