Economists David Card, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens won the 2021 Nobel economics prize on Monday for pioneering the use of “natural experiments” to understand the causal effects of economic policy and other events.
Card took half the prize “for his empirical contributions to labour economics”, the academy said. Angrist and Imbens shared the other half “for their methodological contributions to the analysis of causal relationships”.
“Card’s studies of core questions for society and Angrist and Imbens’ methodological contributions have shown that natural experiments are a rich source of knowlege,” said Peter Fredriksson, chair of the Economic Sciences Committee.
“Their research has substantially improved our ability to answer key causal questions, which has been of great benefit for society”, he added.
Unlike the other Nobel prizes, the economics award wasn’t established in the will of Alfred Nobel but by the Swedish central bank in his memory in 1968, with the first winner selected a year later.
The prize, formally known as the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences, is the last prize announced each year, and sees the winners share a sum of 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.14 million).
Last week, the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to journalists Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia for their fight for freedom of expression in countries where reporters have faced persistent attacks, harassment and even murder.