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Nobel season wraps up with economics prize

15 october 2012, 17:12
0
Journalists wait for the announcement of the laureates the 2012 Nobel Prize. ©AFP
Journalists wait for the announcement of the laureates the 2012 Nobel Prize. ©AFP
This year's Nobel season wraps up on Monday with the announcement in Stockholm of the economics prize, which US researchers are once again tipped to win after years of dominance in the field, AFP reports according to the experts.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences will announce the winner or winners at 1:00 pm (1100 GMT).

Among the names circulating in the Swedish media and economic circles are Americans Robert Shiller, who studies behavioural finance and the erratic movement of markets, as well as Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart, who specialise in public debt.

Another American cited as a possible laureate is Paul Romer, even though his field of research -- different types of growth -- has made the headlines less frequently.

In recent years, the Nobel Committee has often selected two or three economists to share the prize, as was the case last year when US duo Thomas Sargent and Christopher Sims won it last year for their work on cause and effect in macroeconomics.

But the honour does occasionally go to a single person, as in 2008 when Paul Krugman of the US got the nod.

While the European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, it is unlikely a European will be honoured with the economics prize if recent history is anything to go by.

Unlike the other Nobel prizes which have been handed out since 1901, the economics prize wasn't part of Alfred Nobel's 1895 will that created the awards and was given out for the first time in 1969.

In its first 20 years, the economics prize was marked by European-American rivalry.

But of the 20 laureates who've won in the past 10 years, 17 are Americans, including two Israeli-Americans.

And a list compiled by the US Federal Reserve Bank of the world's most quoted economics researchers contains only a handful of European names.

Olivier Blanchard, a 63 year-old Frenchman who ranks eighth on the list, is considered worthy of winning a Nobel though he is seen as having little chance this year as he is currently the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, a role deemed too political by many to make him a viable candidate.

His compatriot Jean Tirole, from the Toulouse School of Economics, at number 11 on the Federal Reserve's list, is the highest placed out of those affiliated with a European university, but at 59 years of age he is considered too young.

The committee usually honours research that has stood the test of time, with much of the prizewinning work honoured in recent years initiated in the 1970s.

"There is a time lag between when research is done and when the prize is awarded," Olof Somell, who is responsible for the economics prize at Stockholm's Nobel Museum, told AFP.

One theory about why Americans have dominated the award is the supposed Swedish fascination with the liberal theories of the University of Chicago: with 10 laureates, the university holds a record number of Nobel economics prizes.

But Somell refuted that idea: "The members of the Nobel Committee are chosen to represent a broad spectrum of economic sciences."

The winner or winners will receive the prize, consisting of a Nobel diploma, a gold medal and 8.0 million Swedish kronor ($1.2 million, 921,000 euros), at a ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of Swedish industrialist and prize creator Alfred Nobel's death.

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