Abhijit Banerjee is an Indian American economist who won the 2019 Nobel Prize for Economics.
Abhijit Banerjee was born on Tuesday, 21 February 1961 (age 58 years; as in 2019) in Kolkata. His zodiac sign is Pisces.
He did his schooling from the South Point School in Kolkata. He pursued his B.S. degree in economics from the Presidency College, Calcutta in 1981. He did his M.A. in economics from the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi in 1983. He then joined Harvard to do his PhD in Economics in 1988, where his doctoral thesis was titled “Essays in Information Economics”.
Height (approx.): 5′ 10″
Eye Colour: Black
Hair Colour: Salt & Pepper
Family, Wife & Ethnicity
Abhijit Banerjee is a Bengali Indian. He comes from a family of economists. His father, Dipak Banerjee, was a professor and the head of the Economics Department at Presidency College, Calcutta. His mother, Nirmala Banerjee, was an economics professor at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta.
Abhijit Banerjee has been married twice. He got married to his first wife, Dr Arundhati Tuli Banerjee when he was a professor at MIT. They had grown up together in Kolkata. However their marriage did not last long, and they got divorced. They had a son, Kabir Banerjee, but around March 2016, he passed away in a tragic accident.
In 2015, Abhijit got married to Esther Duflo, a French American economist. She was his doctoral student, and later his co-researcher. Abhijit was also the joint supervisor in Esther’s PhD in economics when she was in MIT in 1999. Abhijit was still married to his first wife, Arundhati when he had a child with Esther in 2012.
When Abhijit completed his PhD, he taught at many prestigious institutions including Harvard University and Princeton University. He then went on to become the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His research was mainly focused on development economics. He is best known for his field experiments to use them as an important methodology to discover causal relationships in economics.
In 2013, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon appointed Abhijit to a panel of experts, who were tasked with updating the Millenium Development Goals. On 14 October 2019, Abhijit was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics, with his wife Esther Duflo, and Michael Kremer (an American economist), for their work towards “Alleviating Global Poverty.”
In 1983, when Abhijit was in JNU, he, along with other students of JNU, staged a protest outside the residence of the vice-chancellor, PN Srivastava. The police were called, and when the students resisted the police, the students were beaten and taken into custody. Abhijit, along with 400 other students, was sent to Tihar jail. However, they were given bail 10 days later, and the charges against them were dropped after a year-long legal and political battle.
- Volatility And Growth (2005; Oxford University Press)
- Making Aid Work (2005; MIT Press)
- Understanding Poverty (2006; Oxford University Press)
- Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty (2011; Public Affairs Book Group)
- Handbook of Field Experiments, Volume 1 & 2 (2017; Elsevier)
- A Short History of Poverty Measurements (2019; Juggernaut Books)
Awards, Fellowships, and Honours
- IRIS Scholar, 1993
- Institute for Policy Reform Junior Fellow, 1993
- Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, 1994-96
- National Science Foundation Grant, 1995-98
- Fellow of the Econometric Society, 1996
- MacArthur Foundation Grant under the Costs of Inequality Project, 1996-2002
- “Creativity Extension” of National Science Foundation Grant 1998-2000
- Guggenheim Fellow, 2000
- Mahalanobis Memorial Medal, 2000, India
- Malcolm Adeshesiah Award, 2001
- National Science Foundation Grant “Inequality, Growth & Trade Policy,” 2002-2006
- Distinguished Visitor, Washington University, St. Louis, 2003
- Romesh Chandra Dutt Lecturer, 2003, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta
- National Institutes on Aging Grant “Health Care and Health Status in Rajasthan, India;” sub-grant under “Economics of Aging,” 2004 – 2009
- Kuznets Lecture, 2004, Yale University
- American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Fellow, 2004
- Member, Council of the Econometric Society, 2004
- IEPR Distinguished Lecture, University of Southern California, 2006
- Michael Wallerstein Award, American Political Science Association, 2006
- D. Gale Johnson Lecture, University of Chicago, 2006
- Honorary Visiting Professor, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata, 2006
- Economic Journal Lecture, 2007
- Albert Hirschman Lecture, 2007
- Honorary Consultant in PEO, Planning Commission, India, 2008
- International Research Fellow, Kiel Institute, 2008
- BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award for Development Cooperation, 2009
- Infosys Award in Social Sciences, 2009
- Anaya Samman, Kolkata, 2011
- Foreign Policy Magazine’s Top 100 Global Thinkers, 2011
- Sherar Shera Bengali (Best of the Best Bengali), 2012
- Gabarron International Award for Economics, 2013
- The Albert O. Hirschman Prize (The Social Science Research Council), 2014
- Honorary Doctoral degree, KU Leuven, 2014
- Bernhard Harms Prize (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), 2014
- Sanjaya Lall Visiting Professor at University of Oxford, Trinity Term, 2015
- Amlan Dutta Lecture, University of Kolkata, 2018
- Tanner Lecture on Human Values, University of Oxford, 2018
- Jean Jacques Laffont Lecture, AFSE, 2018
- Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, 2019
- Dessert: Bengali Sandesh adorned with rose petals
- Food: Exotic Lucknow Style Kebabs
- After winning the Nobel Prize, Abhjit’s mother said that he forgot to tell her about his achievement, but she was very proud of him. She also revealed that Abhijit was not only good at academics, but he was also good at sports, and he has a passion for cooking too.
- On 28 March 2016, after his son’s death, MIT organized a special memorial service in honour of his son’s memory at the MIT Chapel.