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Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel: Read how Nobel Prize in Economics differs from original Nobel Prizes

While Nobel prizes are being awarded since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences was set up much later and the first Economics Nobel Prize was awarded in 1969

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

The Nobel Foundation today announced that Indian-American economist Abhijit Banerjee has won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics, jointly with Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer. They have been rewarded “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.”

Banerjee is currently the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Esther Duflo is the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at the MIT, while Michael Robert Kremer is the Gates Professor of Developing Societies at Harvard University.

The Nobel Foundation said that the trio have been selected for Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, and this is different than how they had announced the other Nobel Prizes this year. For example, on 11th October they had announced that “Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali.” Similarly, they had announced the prize in literature, Physics, Chemistry etc in the familiar format, Nobel Prize in the respective subject.

Also Read: Abhijit Banerjee, economist who advised Congress on the ill-conceived NYAY just won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2019

The name of the Economics Nobel Prize is different because this award is different compared to other Nobel Prizes. Although the award is given by the same Nobel Foundation, technically it is not a Nobel Prize constituted by Alfred Nobel, but a prize given in his memory.

The original Nobel Prizes are given as the will of Swedish chemist, engineer and industrialist Alfred Nobel. He had made a lot of wealth in his armament business and with his 353 inventions. He had invented several explosives, the most famous being the dynamite. Due to this, he was known as the merchant of death. Concerned with how he will be remembered by the world after his death, Nobel had specified in his will that his fortune should be used to create a series of prizes for those who confer the “greatest benefit on mankind” in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace. He had allocated 94% of his total assets, 31 million Swedish Krona, for the prizes.

Accordingly, the Nobel Foundation was set up to administer the prizes. The prize money is awarded from the income generated from investments of this wealth. As we can see, there was no mention of a Nobel Prize in Economics in the will prepared by Alfred Nobel, and from the first Nobel prizes in 1901 to 1968, the prize was given in the original 5 categories only.

The Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences was set up much later, in the year 1968, and the first Economics prize was awarded in 1969. The prize was established in memory of Alfred Nobel on a donation given by Sveriges Riksbank, the Sweden’s central bank. The money for the prize comes from an endowment in perpetuity from Sveriges Riksbank, it is not paid from the wealth left by Alfred Nobel. This is the reason the prize is officially known as The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences In Memory of Alfred Nobel.

Thus, the Nobel Prize in Economics is different from the other five prizes, which are the original Nobel Prizes set by Alfred Nobel using his money. However, the nomination process, selection criteria etc for economics are the same as others, and it is presented at the same ceremony with other prizes.

The Economics Prize Committee of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awards the Nobel Prize in Economics. Physics and Chemistry prizes are also awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, the Swedish Academy grants the Nobel Prize in Literature, and the Norwegian Nobel Committee awards the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Nobel Prize amount for 2019 is SEK 9 million for each prize, or around ₹6.5 crores. It is divided among the winners in case of multiple winners in a category.

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia
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