MIT economist Joshua Angrist shares Nobel Prize


Joshua Angrist, an MIT labor economist whose work has delved deeply into issues of employment and education while helping to establish empirical rigor throughout economics, has been named winner of the 2021 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.  He shares the award with David Card of the University of California at Berkeley and Guido Imbens of the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Angrist was cited for his work establishing new methods of conducting “natural experiments” in economics — studies using datasets in which otherwise similar groups of people are separated by one crucial variable, allowing researchers to better understand cause and effect in complex social situations.

Natural experiments, the Nobel citation states, are “a rich source of knowledge. Their research has substantially improved our ability to answer key causal questions, which has been of great benefit to society.”

Angrist’s empirical research has illuminated, among other specific questions, the effects of both military service and education on lifetime earnings, and has explored the effects of experiments and new education methods on students.

Angrist received a BA in economics from Oberlin College in 1982. He was awarded an MA in economics from Princeton University in 1987 and received his PhD in economics from Princeton in 1989. He was an assistant professor at Harvard University for two years and a faculty member at Hebrew University until 1996, when he joined the MIT faculty. Angrist has been the Ford International Professor of Economics at MIT since 2008.

Angrist has published over 50 peer-reviewed papers in economics and written dozens of review articles and book chapters as well. Along with economist Steve Pischke, he is the co-author of two well-known books on empirical methods in economics: “Mostly Harmless Econometrics” (2009), and “Mastering ‘Metrics” (2015). Angrist was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2006.

Angrist is the eighth person to win the award while serving as an MIT faculty member, following Paul Samuelson (1970), Franco Modigliani (1985), Robert Solow (1987), Peter Diamond (2010), Bengt Holmström (2016), and Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo (2019). There are 12 MIT alumni who have won the Nobel in economics; eight former faculty have also won the award.

This article will updated later today.

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