And the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics…

by Ingrid Robeyns on October 14, 2013

Wait, why do we have actually have The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel ? If you have ten minutes to spare, Philip Mirowski will give us part of the answer, and tell us about his research project investigating this issue.



Brad DeLong 10.14.13 at 7:17 pm

So Paul Krugman can afford to buy a condo in NY and have a place to sleep after he has to deal with Peggy Noonan on the TV?


Chris Mealy 10.14.13 at 7:50 pm

I’d bet Fama has made a zillion dollars from DFA already.


The Raven 10.14.13 at 8:59 pm

Personally, I think Paul K. probably needs more than a place to sleep after dealing with Noonan.


In the sky 10.14.13 at 9:36 pm

I think it primarily exists to give a sense of self-satisfaction to the people who go to considerable lengths to let all and sundry know that “It’s not a real Nobel, don’t you know.” Because of course the fact that old Alfred did not include economics in his original list is a damning indictment into the state of “scientific” economic research, the bunch of political hacks they are, don’t you know.


bexley 10.14.13 at 10:04 pm

@3 so a shower too.


rea 10.14.13 at 10:24 pm

I’d bet Fama has made a zillion dollars from DFA already.

If so, that would simply represent average market retuns on risk-adjusted basis.


Tabasco 10.15.13 at 2:16 am

Once again, the Nobel Prize in economics goes to people who fundamentally contradict each other. It wouldn’t happen in physics.


Newtownian 10.15.13 at 4:03 am

They started the Economics Prize so when they awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to Henry Kissinger 4 years later, people would be used to the absurdities of the neo way to view the world and would accept that political interference as just part of good business practice.


Jonathan 10.15.13 at 9:35 am

@8 I think he meant a drink. I sure would. I personally think PK should get the Peace Prize simply for being in the same room with George Will so many times without strangling him.


phosphorious 10.15.13 at 12:49 pm


“so a shower too.”

He can scrub all he likes. . . it doesn’t come off.


Jonathan 10.15.13 at 3:43 pm

Sorry: in my 10.15.13 9:35 comment @8 was supposed to be @5.


AJ 10.16.13 at 1:43 am

I would like to go on record and state the Efficient Matter Hypothesis. This goes as follows : there is actually less matter than antimatter in the universe. Just a hypothesis. You know what I am sayin’.

This year, the Nobel committee decided to give the Nobel to both Shiller and Fama (“Which of them is right? Do you know?” “No idea!” “Let us give it to them both.” “Yes. Safer!” *Muhahahahahahaha*). If the Physics Nobel goes the same way as the Economics Nobel, I believe that this statement would get me in with a chance. (Do I have a chance? Do I have a chance? I think I do.) If they are going to give Economics Nobels for unproven hypotheses, then why not give a Physics Nobel for this one?


Olle J. 10.16.13 at 10:40 am

Mirowski’s project also includes a collegue of mine (the Swedish connection). He and two others, most notably Avner Offner, did a somewhat entertaining piece on the time series of citations for winners of the prize (link at the end). Most winners have citations over time with the shape of a symmetric bell curve. The peak is also quite often about the same time as they get the prize. Some of them got the prize “to early” or “to late” but in most cases the bell curve has more or less the same shape with a few exceptions. Friedman, Arrow and also to some degree Simon and a couple of others have had some staying power, not falling down in their number of yearly citations over time. The special case is however – not unsurprisingly – Hayek. He was way beyond his peak when he got the prize. This gave him, and his writings, a second and more successful bi-modal career trajectory.

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