This year’s Nobel season has only honoured one woman — Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk in Literature — with just one prize left to be announced on Monday: the Economics Prize, which has only once gone to a woman in its 50 years of existence.
Unlike the other Nobels awarded since 1901, the Economics Prize is the only one not created by the prizes’ founder, philanthropist and dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel, in his 1895 will. It was devised in 1968 to mark the 300th anniversary of Sweden’s Central Bank, and first awarded in 1969.
The name of the winner or winners will be revealed at 11:45 am (0945 GMT).
There are no public shortlists for any of the Nobel prizes, but the profile of the economics laureate is perhaps the easiest to predict: a white male, over the age of 55, and of US nationality.
In the past 20 years, three-quarters of winners have matched that description.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences never gives any clues as to which way it is leaning, but university corridors are full of speculation about possible laureates for this 50th edition.
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Israeli-American Joshua Angrist, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US and an expert on labour economics and the economics of education, is among the favourites this year, according to analysts.
Harvard professor Elhanan Helpman of Israel and Princeton professor Gene Grossman of the US are also frontrunners, Hubert Fromlet, a Linnaeus Univerity economist in Sweden, told news agency TT. Both are experts in international trade and growth.
Columbia University professor Jagdish Bhagwati, who specialises in free trade, is also among those mentioned.
Born in India in 1934, he has played “a large if subtle role in keeping protectionism from becoming respectable,” according to one of his former students, Paul Krugman who won the 2008 prize, in line with the Academy’s predilection for free market and free trade economists.
– A second woman? –
Among other possible laureates, this year are three women, according to economics commentator Micael Dahlen: Anne Krueger of the US for her work on international trade, Cuban-born American Carmen Reinhart for her work on public debt and growth, and French development aid economist Esther Duflo.
If one of them were to get the nod, she would become the second woman to win the prize, after Elinor Ostrom of the US in 2009.