Dressed in bandhgala and dhoti, Abhijit Banerjee receives Nobel Prize 2019

Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer at the Nobel Prize ceremony in Sweden (Source: Twitter/The Nobel Prize)

Dressed in a bandhgala jacket and dhoti, Indian-American Economist Abhijit Banerjee received the Nobel Prize in Economics in Sweden for his "experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.” Esther Duflo, who shared the prize, was dressed in a blue sari. Their colleague Michael Kremmer, meanwhile, wore a suit.

The award carries a purse of 9 million Swedish krona (about Rs 6.5 crore) to be shared among the three winners.

Born in Mumbai, Banerjee is the second Indian after Amartya Sen to win the Nobel prize in Economics. Like Sen, Banerjee, too, is an alumnus of Presidency College, now Presidency University.

While the couple, Banerjee and Duflo, are professors in the department of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Kremer is a professor in the department of economics at Harvard University.

The trio's research has, over the last two decades, helped obtain reliable answers about the best ways to fight global poverty. Their work has revolved around identifying “low-hanging fruits”, which are often the most effective interventions in improving outcomes in health and education for the poor.

Their work — breaking down the problem of global poverty into a number of smaller and more precise questions at individual and group level — has redefined research in development economics over the last 20 years. “This new research is now delivering a steady flow of concrete results,” stated the popular science background paper made available by the Academy.

Days before the award, Banerjee had blamed “recentralisation” as among the reasons compounding India’s economic slowdown and had advised the government to strengthen institutions, removing interference by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and withdraw cases “that look obviously politically motivated”. Incidentally, he was also one of the few faces that the Congress tapped ahead of the Lok Sabha elections this year.