Jens 'n' Frens
Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

"A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures."
  -- Daniel Webster

Thursday, October 02, 2014 :::

This is essentially trivia, but I'd like to note three candidates who perhaps should be in the conversation for the Economics Nobel Prize but, at least so far as I've seen, haven't been, along with speculations as to why:
Avinash Dixit
Part of what is impressive about Dixit is that he has contributed to a lot of fields; I wonder whether he hasn't received it yet in part because they can't decide what to give it for. A strong case has been made that he should have shared the 2008 prize with Krugman, much of whose work rested on some of Dixit's early work; it may be that politics played a role in his not being included.
Jean Tirole
I will admit to having thought he was a woman until a few hours after I learned that he is French — it occurred to me that he was likely male at the moment I realized I had been mispronouncing his first name. It's possible his work is too closely related to that of (really) the last three years' worth of prizes [edit: for some reason I forgot about the 2010–2011 prizes, and had in mind the winners from 2009, 2012, and 2013 when I wrote this], whose only real common thread is "fields on which Tirole's work impinges"; it's not so much the case, as with Dixit, that his contributions are so diffuse as that they sit in the middle of IO, markets, governance, and finance. In years past I've seen people suggest him for the prize, and cheer for it on the grounds that it would be fun to watch the media try to explain his work to laymen; that prospective source of entertainment for those of us in the know might hurt him a little bit with the committee.
Ben Bernanke
This is another case, as with Tirole, of the timing being wrong, not so much for the last few years' prizes as for his recent retirement from a high-profile non-academic job that might make politics a factor, to some extent forever but especially this year. He would never have been a shoo-in, but certainly would have been a credible candidate ten years ago based on his previous work on the effects of the finance and banking sector on what economists and populists alike sometimes call "the real economy". His theoretical work preceded his historical work on the Great Depression, and one can see evidence of his work at times in his performance of his more recent job, but one can also see his management style and the effects of the institutional setting in which he was working. No doubt were he to receive it much of the popular media coverage would imply, almost certainly incorrectly, that it was an endorsement by the committee of his actions in the last eight years, and the committee may want to avoid that for a while.

::: posted by dWj at 1:04 PM

Well, it's possible I'm entitled to offer a "neener neener" to the sources I saw that missed Tirole as a top candidate.
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Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

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