NEW DELHI: Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, who jointly won the Nobel Prize in Economics 2019 along with French Esther Duflo and American Michael Kremer is an Indian-American who won the prestigious award for their experiment-based approach to tackling poverty - in the fast-growing area of development economics
Born on February 21, 1961, in Mumbai, Banerjee attended South Point School and Presidency College, Kolkata, where he completed his BSc degree in economics in 1981. Following this, Banerjee completed his MA in economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi in 1983. Later, he went on to obtain a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University, Cambridge, the USA in 1988.
Banerjee co-founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab along with economists Esther Duflo and Sendhil Mullainathan and his work mainly focussed on development economics. Together with Esther Duflo, Michael Kremer, John A. List, and Sendhil Mullainathan, he has proposed field experiments as an important methodology to discover causal relationships in economics.
The Nobel Prize laureate has a plethora of achievements in his kitty. He 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.
Banerjee currently works at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, USA. He also served on the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
In 2009, he also was honoured with the Infosys Prize 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 was earlier married to Dr Arundhati Tuli Banerjee, a lecturer of literature at MIT, with whom he divorced later. Abhijit has a child with co-researcher and MIT professor Esther Duflo, who he married in 2015 after living together for a while. Esther is also one of the awardees of the Nobel Prize in Economics along with Banerjee and Michael Kremer.