Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee (Bengali: অভিজিৎ বিনায়ক বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়, pronounced [obʱidʒit banɔrdʒi]; born 21 February 1961) is an Indian-American economist who is currently the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Banerjee shared the 2019 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer "for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty". Along with Esther Duflo, they are the sixth married couple to jointly win a Nobel Prize.
Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee
অভিজিৎ বিনায়ক বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়
Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee
21 February 1961
|Institution||Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|Alma mater||Presidency College, Calcutta|
University of Calcutta (BSc)
Jawaharlal Nehru University (MA)
Harvard University (PhD)
|Contributions||Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab|
Innovations for Poverty Action
|Awards||Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2019)|
|Information at IDEAS / RePEc|
|Economies by region|
|Economic growth theories|
|Fields and subfields|
Banerjee is a co-founder of Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (along with economists Esther Duflo and Sendhil Mullainathan). He is a research affiliate of Innovations for Poverty Action and a member of the Consortium on Financial Systems and Poverty. Banerjee was a president of the Bureau for the Research in the Economic Analysis of Development, a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a research fellow at the Centre for Economic Policy Research, an international research fellow of the Kiel Institute, fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a fellow at the Econometric Society. He also has been a Guggenheim Fellow and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow. He is the co-author of Poor Economics. He also serves on the academic advisory board of Plaksha University, an upcoming science and technology university in India. His new book, co-authored with Esther Duflo, Good Economics for Hard Times, was released in October 2019 in India by Juggernaut Books.
Banerjee was born in Bombay, India to Dipak Banerjee, who was the head of the Department of Economics at Presidency College, Calcutta, West Bengal and Nirmala Banerjee (née Patankar), a professor of economics at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta. His father, Dipak Banerjee, earned a PhD in economics from the London School of Economics.
He received his school education in South Point High School, a renowned educational institution in Calcutta. After his schooling, he took admission at the University of Calcutta in Presidency College where he completed his B.Sc.(H) degree in economics in 1981. Later, he completed his M.A. in economics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi in 1983. While studying in JNU, he was arrested and imprisoned in Tihar Jail during a protest after students gheraoed the then Vice Chancellor PN Srivastava of the university. He was released on bail and charges were subsequently dropped against the students. Later, he went on to obtain a Ph.D. in Economics at Harvard University in 1988. The subject of his doctoral thesis was "Essays in Information Economics."
His work focuses on development economics. Together with Esther Duflo he has discussed field experiments as an important methodology to discover causal relationships in economics. He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004. He was also honored with the Infosys Prize 2009 in the social sciences category of economics. He is also the recipient of the inaugural Infosys Prize in the category of social sciences (economics). In 2012, he shared the Gerald Loeb Award Honorable Mention for Business Book with co-author Esther Duflo for their book Poor Economics.
In 2014, he received the Bernhard-Harms-Prize from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
Banerjee and his co-workers try to measure the effectiveness of actions (such as government programmes) in improving people's lives. For this, they use randomized controlled trials, similar to clinical trials in medical research. For example, although polio vaccination is freely available in India, many mothers were not bringing their children for the vaccination drives. Banerjee and Prof. Esther Duflo, also from MIT, tried an experiment in Rajasthan, where they gifted a bag of pulses to mothers who vaccinated their children. Soon, the immunization rate went up in the region. In another experiment, they found that learning outcomes improved in schools that were provided with teaching assistants to help students with special needs.
Abhijit Banerjee was married to Dr. Arundhati Tuli Banerjee, a lecturer of literature at MIT. Abhijit and Arundhati had one son together and later divorced. His son Kabir Banerjee (born 1991), from his first marriage, died in an accident in 2016. In 2015, Banerjee married his co-researcher, MIT professor Esther Duflo; they have two children. Banerjee was a joint supervisor of Duflo's PhD in economics at MIT in 1999. Duflo is also a Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at MIT.
- Aghion, Philippe; Banerjee, Abhijit (2005). Volatility And Growth. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199248612.
- Banerjee, Abhijit Vinayak; Bénabou, Roland; Mookherjee, Dilip, eds. (2006). Understanding Poverty. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195305203.
- Banerjee, Abhijit Vinayak (2005). Making Aid Work. Cambridge: MIT Press. ISBN 9780262026154.
- Banerjee, Abhijit V.; Duflo, Esther (2011). Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty. New York: PublicAffairs. ISBN 9781610390408.
- Banerjee, Abhijit Vinayak; Duflo, Esther, eds. (2017). Handbook of Field Experiments, Volume 1. North–Holland (an imprint of Elsevier). ISBN 9780444633248.
- Banerjee, Abhijit Vinayak; Duflo, Esther, eds. (2017). Handbook of Field Experiments, Volume 2. North–Holland (an imprint of Elsevier). ISBN 9780444640116.
- Banerjee, Abhijit Vinayak ( 2019 ). A Short History of Poverty Measurements . Juggernaut Books.
- Banerjee, Abhijit V.; Duflo, Esther (2019). Good Economics for Hard Times. PublicAffairs. ISBN 9781541762879.
Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences
The Nobel committee commented:
- "Banerjee, Duflo and their co-authors concluded that students appeared to learn nothing from additional days at school. Neither did spending on textbooks seem to boost learning, even though the schools in Kenya lacked many essential inputs. Moreover, in the Indian context Banerjee and Duflo intended to study, many children appeared to learn little: in results from field tests in the city of Vadodara fewer than one in five third-grade students could correctly answer first-grade curriculum math test questions.
- Amartya Sen, economist and the first Indian to receive a Nobel prize in the field
- Duflo, Esther (1999), Essays in empirical development economics. Ph.D. dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
- Karlan, Dean S. (2002), Social capital and microfinance. Ph.D. dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
- Jones, Benjamin (2003), Essays on innovation, leadership, and growth. Ph.D. dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
- Qian, Nancy (2005), Three Essays on Development Economics in China. Ph.D. dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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- Teachers do not die - Dipak Banerjee (1930-2007)
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- Banerjee, Abhijit V; Duflo, Esther (November 2008). "The Experimental Approach to Development Economics". nber.org. National Bureau of Economic Research. doi:10.3386/w14467. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
- "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
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To bring some science to the fight against poverty, the three researchers borrowed a key tool from clinical medicine: the randomized controlled trial. [They] have used trials to test interventions in education, health, agriculture, and access to credit.
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