10/15/2019, 09.30
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Nobel Prize in Economics for Indian Abhijit Banerjee, critic of Modi's policies

Frenchwoman Esther Duflo (his wife) and to the American Michael Kremer also awarded. The experimental approach in the scholastic field has improved the lives of five million Indian students. In the medical field, many countries have introduced subsidies for disease prevention.

New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded to the Indian Abhijit Banerjee, the French Esther Duflo and the American Michael Kremer. The first two, who are married, teach at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge (Boston), while the third is a professor at Harvard University, also in Cambridge.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awards the prize established by the Swedish Central Bank, chose them for "the experimental approach in the fight against global poverty".

The award was announced yesterday and will be delivered during a public ceremony on December 10th.  Professor. Banerjee, 58, is critical of the recent economic and financial policies of his country of origin.

Born in Calcutta in 1961 into a family of economists, he openly criticized the fiscal maneuver launched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the end of 2016, known as "demonetization". Yesterday, in some interviews released after the Nobel victory, he declared that the Indian economy "is going very badly", and added that the government is acknowledging that the problem exists.

He was a consultant to the Congress Party in last May's elections, and drafted programs to help the poor. Together with his wife Esther, in March of this year he was among the 108 economics experts in the world who signed a letter-petition against the economic data "rigged" by Modi to avoid losing the presidential elections (which he later won again).

For her part, Professor Duflo revealed that she was very surprised by the awarding of the prize and confided her hope to be an example for other women and men. The scientist is the second woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Economics, established in 1969 in memory of Alfred Nobel. At 46, she is also the youngest ever.

The Committee chose the three professors for "their work which drastically improved the possibility of fighting poverty in a concrete way". Banerjee and Duflo, in addition to being partners in life since 2015 (the French woman was also a pupil of her husband), they often worked together with colleague Kremer on projects for poor communities in India and Africa.

The Academy notes that the success of the professors’ approach is due to a simple method: to divide complex questions into "smaller and more manageable questions" that allow more immediate results. For example, in India they fought absenteeism among teachers suggesting employment with temporary contracts, with the possibility of renewal in case of positive results. This incentive system has ensured better performance among students.

In the health field, one project examined the demand for antiviral pills for parasitic infections: the scientists found that it was influenced by the price, since three quarters of the parents gave the pills to their children when the medicine was free, while only the 18% when the drugs were purchasable at the cost of about a dollar.

As a direct result of their studies, says the Academy, "more than five million Indian children have benefited from effective collective mentoring programs. Another example is the subsidies for preventive care that have been introduced in many countries ". The three scientists will receive a cash prize of nine million Swedish crowns (over 830,000 euros), a gold medal and a diploma.

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