An American economist won the Nobel Prize for economy Monday for pioneering research which showed that an increase in the minimum wage does not lead to a decrease in hiring and that immigrants do not pay native-born workers, challenging popular ideas. Two others shared the prize for creating a way to study these types of societal issues.
Canadian-born David Card of the University of California at Berkeley received half the prize for his research on the impact of minimum wages, immigration and education on the labor market, while the other half was shared by Joshua Angrist of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Dutch Guido Imbens of Stanford University for their framework for studying problems that cannot rely on traditional scientific methods.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the three have “completely reshaped empirical work in economics”.
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“Card’s studies on fundamental questions for society and the methodological contributions of Angrist and Imbens have shown that natural experiments are a rich source of knowledge,” said Peter Fredriksson, Chairman of the Economics Committee. “Their research has dramatically improved our ability to answer key causal questions, which has been of great benefit to society.”
Card has worked on research using restaurants in New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania to measure the effects of raising the minimum wage. He studied what happened when New Jersey raised its minimum wage from $ 4.25 to $ 5.05, using restaurants on the eastern border of Pennsylvania as a comparison group.
Unlike previous studies, he and his late research partner Alan Krueger found that an increase in the minimum wage had no effect on the number of employees. Card then worked further on the matter. Overall, the work concluded that the negative effects of increasing the minimum wage are small and significantly lower than what was believed 30 years ago, the Nobel committee said.
Card also found that the incomes of those born in a country may benefit new immigrants, while immigrants who arrived earlier are those who may be negatively affected.
Angrist and Imbens won their half of the prize for solving methodological problems that allow economists to draw solid conclusions about cause and effect even when they cannot conduct studies according to strict scientific methods.
Speaking by phone from his Massachusetts home, Imbens told reporters he was asleep when the call arrived.
“I was just absolutely amazed to receive a phone call,” he said. “And then I was absolutely thrilled to hear the news, a special kind of hearing that I was able to share with Josh Angrist and David Card were both very good friends of mine.”
The award is accompanied by a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor (over $ 1.14 million).
contrary to the other Nobel Prize winners, the economics prize was not established in Alfred Nobel’s will but by the Swedish central bank in his memory in 1968, the first winner being selected a year later. This is the last price announced each year.
Last week the Nobel Peace Prize 2021 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.
Ressa was the only woman honored this year in all categories.
The Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to UK-based Tanzanian writer Abdulrazak Gurnah, who has been recognized for his “uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the plight of the refugee”.
The physiology or medicine prize went to Americans David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for their discoveries on how the human body perceives temperature and touch it.
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Three scientists won the physics prize for work that has tidied up apparent disorder, helping to explain and predict the complex forces of nature, including expanding our understanding of climate change.
Benjamin List and David WC MacMillan won the chemistry prize to find a simpler, more environmentally friendly way to build molecules that can be used to make compounds, including drugs and pesticides.