September 27, 2004

Economics Nobel Prize

Tyler Cowen asks "Who will win the next Nobel Prize in economics?"

I think that we should be thinking not in terms of people but of fields, and the Bhagwati-Dixit-Krugman Nobel looks to me like the best bet. (Of course, it seemed to me to be the best bet last year.)

Posted by DeLong at September 27, 2004 11:27 AM | TrackBack
Comments

I heard that they ruled you out because they thought that it would go to your head.

Posted by: goethean at September 27, 2004 11:40 AM

Wonder what it would do for all of Krugman's naysayers if the guy wins it this time. Wonder what will happen to his NYTimes page critics. How do you argue with an Economics Nobel laureate about Economics?

Sadly, I think the Nobel committee will try to avoid the huge controversy and apparent partisanship that would result from Krugman getting the prize (even joint with someone else). Last time I checked, the futures markets had Barro ahead in the race.

Posted by: ac at September 27, 2004 11:42 AM

One good bet and one wild card:

The good bet: Tom Schelling
The wild care: Janos Kornai

Posted by: Dan Cole at September 27, 2004 11:43 AM

Does anyone really think this White House would every let Krugman get the Nobel?

Posted by: policywonk at September 27, 2004 11:45 AM

How about Peter Diamond of MIT? He has done both theoretical stuff and applied stuff such as Social Security.

Posted by: venky at September 27, 2004 11:56 AM

How about Peter Diamond of MIT? He has done both theoretical stuff and applied stuff such as Social Security.

Posted by: venky at September 27, 2004 11:56 AM

Tom Schelling. For stimulating a lot of people outside, as well as inside, of economics, and for doing it with insights that were many years ahead of anyone else.

Posted by: Jim Harris at September 27, 2004 12:20 PM

> Does anyone really think this White House would every let Krugman get the Nobel?

What are they going to do? Bomb Sweden?

Posted by: Paul Callahan at September 27, 2004 12:43 PM

I'd put a small gamble on David Hendry.

Posted by: dsquared at September 27, 2004 12:50 PM

Actually, no, scratch that. Hendry's work overlaps too much with Granger & Engle (though that didn't stop the CAPM/Black&Scholes back to back Nobels).

But my money would be on JK Galbraith, otherwise he is quite likely to die without one and join Joan Robinson on the short list of people whose failure to win the Nobel reflects much worse on the prize than it does on them.

Posted by: dsquared at September 27, 2004 12:57 PM

John Kenneth Galbraith would be a wonderful choice! Such a dear mind and heart. Surely it is time.

Posted by: anne at September 27, 2004 01:33 PM

Schelling would be marvellous.

Posted by: angry moderate at September 27, 2004 01:37 PM

I made an earlier post last week entitled "Who Will Win the Nobel Prize in Economics?" (http://voluntaryxchange.typepad.com/voluntaryxchange/2004/09/who_will_win_th.html). But, I have much the same sentiment: the award goes to an area first, and then to the big name(s) in it.

Trade is almost uncovered by Nobel Prizes, and is due. Bhagwati is a big name there. He could very well have company.

Personally, I think Dixit-Krugman will win a separate prize some years down the road. Bhagwati will win for (standard) trade now, and Dixit and Krugman will win later for (new) trade theory.

The other big area that I feel is uncovered right now is cost function estimation. Jorgenson is the big name there.

Barro is certainly deserving, but what bothers me about his chances are that - while he has covered a lot of areas - he is not the best known in any one of them. He did sticky-price macro, but so did others. He was in early in the new-classical revolution, but Sargent was more influential there. Ricardian equivalence would be a good area, but he didn't do too much there. Optimal policy choice is another one, and I think he is more seminal there, but it isn't that hot a literature. In growth theory he is more of a cheerleader. And he has only played a supporting role in hyperbolic discounting. Don't get me wrong ... I'd do anything for one of those publications, but he doesn't have the focus of (say) Lucas.

Posted by: Dave Tufte at September 27, 2004 01:42 PM

I'd also guess that they'd love to give it to a non-Anglo, so Jean Tirole might be the dark horse in that market, and I wouldn't absolutely rule out Hernando DeSoto.

Posted by: dsquared at September 27, 2004 01:50 PM

Please, oh please, can it be Krugman (with some other guys, too, if that's the way it goes)? He is definitely worthy, as many seem to think, but what's more, Don Luskin would literally shit himself.

Posted by: Brian at September 27, 2004 02:12 PM

Why not Krugman-DeLong?

Posted by: El Gringo at September 27, 2004 02:37 PM

OK, so is there any web resource that gives you "pedigree" information for the Economics Nobel Prize winners? I know in other fields, that can give some people an edge when it comes to recognition over and above achievement. But, of course, that's a gross inefficiency, and maybe the econ people have moved completely past that. :-)

Posted by: Jonathan W. King at September 27, 2004 03:04 PM

The “Nobel Prize” in economics does not exist. There is the “Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.” The bank instituted the prize at its 300th anniversary (1969) and convinced the Swedish Academy of Sciences to administer it. If Bill Gates decided to institute “The William Gates Prize in Computer Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel” and bribed, I mean funded the Swedish Academy to administer it for him, would we call the prizewinners “Nobel Laureates?” I think not. Members of the Nobel family agree and they contest the use of the term “Nobel Prize” for the Bank’s prize.

Posted by: A. Zarkov at September 27, 2004 03:07 PM

Jon King,

Just go to the official Nobel site. There's a bit of information about each winner there.

Posted by: Brian at September 27, 2004 03:15 PM

ac,

I saw Idiot Boy Don Luskin brag that right-leaning Barro was ahead of Krugman in the future's markets. I didn't even know that he was in the running, but now that I do, I want to know what's famous for. I don't want to spend a lot of time researching this, so I ask you, do you know?

Posted by: Brian at September 27, 2004 03:17 PM

They ought to give the economics prize once every four years, like the top math prize. There just aren't enough really new and important contributions to economics to justify it annally. They've been scraping the bottom of the barrel for years now.

Posted by: Luke Lea at September 27, 2004 04:37 PM

They ought to give the economics prize once every four years, like the top math prize. There just aren't enough really new and important contributions to economics to justify it annally. They've been scraping the bottom of the barrel for years now.

Posted by: Luke Lea at September 27, 2004 04:37 PM

>>I saw Idiot Boy Don Luskin brag that right-leaning Barro was ahead of Krugman in the future's markets.

God that's stupid. Barro would certainly not thank him for this; he and Krugman have always been unfailingly polite to each other in print (apart from one little needle in Krugman's SLATE column about Barro's salary, which is presumably long since past being a bone of contention post Krugman's move to Princeton).

Barro has done a lot of good work. He revived Ricardian equivalence (which is at the heart of what Brad is talking about when he refers to the Bush tax cut as a "tax postponement"), he did a lot of stuff on neoclassical-rational models that didn't amount to much but looked pretty good at the time, and he's written pretty much the definitive work on how much inflation is "too much". He's a bit right-wing for my taste, and he has an "unfortunate" face (I seem to remember coining the term "A Robert Barro smile" for people who looked to be roughly 150% too pleased with themselves), but he's a serious guy. Frankly, I'd say he was at least equal with Krugman in terms of contributions to the literature.

Posted by: dsquared at September 27, 2004 06:50 PM