Readers & Thinkers: The 2017 Nobel Prize in Economics. Prediction

Dear All:

This week begins the annual announcement of Nobel Prizes in a variety of fields. The economics Nobel prize will be announced on October 9, 2017.

Last Year’s Winner

Last year, the prize was given to Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmstrom “for their contributions to contract theory”.

Who will win in 2017?

As I’ve said before, it’s just too hard to predict anymore.  So instead I’ll talk a bit about people that the Nobel committee missed.  One of those was William Baumol.  He died on May 4, 2017.  He was most well-known for his contestable markets idea.  Unfortunately, not everyone gets a Nobel Prize.

The other person who could have received the prize was Stephen Ross.  He died on March 3, 2017.  He made many contributions to economic theory, including the arbitrage pricing theory, the binomial option pricing model, and agency theory.  The Nobel Committee probably should have given him the prize in 2013 along with Fama, but instead they gave it to Shiller and Hansen.  That was puzzling.

The fields that are ripe for an award are econometrics and international economics.  For econometrics, they might go with Hausman and one of his students and for international economics they might go with Grossman and Helpman.  Conveniently, Grossman and Helpman also wrote about political economics and that might give the Nobel committee a moment to be political (no pun intended).    Health economics is overdue, but it’s hard to think of names in this area.  And what about Peltzman?  He’s still alive and his idea of unintended consequences is appealing.  Growth is always important – what about Barro and Romer?  Or what about a long-shot, Nordhaus for environmental?

There are a couple of cognitive science/neuroeconomic guys on the committee, so maybe there will be a tilt in the selections.

Public Opinion on the Potential Winner

  1. Clarivate lists (formerly Thomson Reuters) the names of economists such as Robert Hall, George Loewenstein, Michael Jensen, Stewart Myers, and Rajan Raghuram.  I really only think Bob Hall might be thrown in with Barro and Romer.   
  2. I could not find any betting markets for economics.  I did find a betting market for the Peace Prize.  Interestingly, they have President Trump at 20-1 for that and Putin at 90-1.
  3. Economics Job Rumors have predictions that are all over the place with no consistent theme. 

I guess we’ll have to wait until Monday.


October 3, 2017