Israeli-American Joshua Angrist among trio to win Nobel Prize in Economics

Professor awarded prize for his work on unintended experiments; taught at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University and at Harvard before his current position at MIT

Israeli-American economist Joshua Angrist (Video screenshot)
Israeli-American economist Joshua Angrist (Video screenshot)

Israeli-American Joshua Angrist, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is one of three winners of the Nobel Prize for Economics for their work on drawing conclusions from unintended experiments, or so-called “natural experiments,” it was announced Monday.

David Card of the University of California at Berkeley was awarded one half of the prize, while the other half was shared by Angrist and Guido Imbens from Stanford University.

Angrist is an expert on labor economics and the economics of education, and has also made contributions to the field of econometrics.

He taught at Harvard and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem before arriving at MIT in 1996.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the three have “completely reshaped empirical work in the economic sciences.”

“Card’s studies of core questions for society and Angrist and Imbens’ methodological contributions have shown that natural experiments are a rich source of knowledge,” said Peter Fredriksson, chair of the Economic Sciences Committee.

From left to right — Economics Nobel Prize winners David Card, Joshua D. Angrist and Guido W. Imbens (Niklas Elmehed/Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences)

“Their research has substantially improved our ability to answer key causal questions, which has been of great benefit for society,” he said.

Unlike the other Nobel prizes, the economics award wasn’t established in the will of Alfred Nobel but by the Swedish central bank in his memory in 1968, with the first winner selected a year later. It is the last prize announced each year.

Last year’s prize went to two Stanford University economists who tackled the tricky problem of making auctions run more efficiently. It also created an endearing moment when one had to knock on the other’s door in the middle of the night to wake him up and tell him they had won.

Last week, the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to journalists Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia for their fight for freedom of expression in countries where reporters have faced persistent attacks, harassment and even murder.

This file combination of pictures created on October 08, 2021, shows Maria Ressa (L), co-founder and CEO of the Philippines-based news website Rappler, speaking at the Human Rights Press Awards at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong on on May 16, 2019 and Dmitry Muratov, editor-in-Chief of Russia’s main opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta gestures as he speaks during a news conference in Moscow, on December 11, 2012 (AFP)

The Nobel Prize for literature was awarded to UK-based Tanzanian writer Abdulrazak Gurnah, who was recognized for his “uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee.”

The prize for physiology or medicine went to Americans David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for their discoveries relating to how the human body perceives temperature and touch.

Nobel prize winners David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian. (NIKLAS ELMEHED / NOBEL PRIZE OUTREACH)

Three scientists won the physics prize for work that found order in seeming disorder, helping to explain and predict complex forces of nature, including expanding our understanding of climate change.

Benjamin List and David W.C. MacMillan won the chemistry prize for finding an easier and environmentally cleaner way to build molecules that can be used to make compounds, including medicines and pesticides.

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