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Nobel Prize in economics 2021: David Card, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens

Christian Fernsby |
Economists David Card, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens gon the 2021 Nobel economics prize.

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Natural experiments use real life situations to work out impacts on the world, an approach that has spread to other fields and revolutionised empirical research.

One such experiment by Canada economist Card on a minimum wage increase in the U.S. state of New Jersey in the early 1990s prompted researchers to review their view that such increases should always lead to falls in employment.

"Natural experiments are everywhere," Eva Mörk, a member of the Prize Committee for the Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic sciences, told a news conference of the impact the method has had across all the social sciences.

Card currently works at the University of California, Berkeley; Angrist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge and Dutch born Imbens at Stanford University.

"I was just absolutely stunned to get a telephone call, then I was just absolutely thrilled to hear the news," Imbens said on a call with reporters in Stockholm, adding he was thrilled to share the prize with two of his good friends. Angrist was best man at his wedding.

The prize iw worth 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.14 million).

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".

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