The winners of 2019 Nobel Prize for Economics. Abhijit Banerjee (extreme left).
The winners of 2019 Nobel Prize for Economics. Abhijit Banerjee (extreme left).

New York: Indian-American Abhijit Banerjee and his French-American wife Esther Duflo have won the Nobel Prize for Economics along with another American Michael Kremer for their "experimental approach to alleviating global poverty."

Banerjee was born in 1961 in Kolkata. He is a Ph.D. from Harvard University and a Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

His ground-breaking scholarship apart, the Nobel laureate is also a superb cook and a connoisseur of Hindustani classical music. He is also the tenth person of Indian origin or citizenship to win a Nobel.

His wife Duflo, born in 1972, is the second woman and the youngest person to be awarded the prize in economics. For the record, the 46-year-old was a former advisor of ex-US president Barack Obama.

Banerjee was wife Duflo's PhD supervisor and their work, alongside that of Kremer's, focussed on poor communities in India and Africa. The duo got married in 2015 and their co-authored book 'Good Economics in Hard Times' will hit the stands this week.

The two also wrote Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty, which won the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award in 2011 and has been translated into more than 17 languages.

Their research shows which investments are worth making and have the biggest impact on the lives of the poorest people. Their work had "dramatically improved our ability to fight poverty in practice", the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awards the prize, said.

"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. "Another example is the heavy subsidies for preventive healthcare that have been introduced in many countries."

In Kolkata, mother Nirmala Banerjee said it was a proud moment for her and she is very happy for Abhijit’s achievements.

She is also happy that one of the joint winners of the prestigious award is her daughter-in-law Esther Duflo.

Nirmala is a former professor of economics at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences. Her husband Dipak is also a professor and the head of the department of Economics at Presidency College (now University).

"He did great work in understanding poverty and how the poor survived. At times we used to discuss various topics and issues on economics. He has also spoken on economic issues our country is facing presently," Nirmala said.

Duflo is the Editor of the American Economic Review, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy.

In 2003, Banerjee founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), along with Duflo and Sendhil Mullainathan, and he remains one of the lab's directors. He also served on the UN Secretary-General's high-level panel of eminent persons on the post-2015 development agenda.

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