Abhijit Banerjee, the India-born economist who was today declared joint winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work in "fighting poverty", might be on top of the world but the 58-year-old could be in trouble back home for not having told his mother the wonderful news. Speaking to NDTV from her home in Kolkata, Nirmala Banerjee declared, in mock anger, "I haven't spoken to my son (since the award was announced) but I did speak to him last night. He did not mention this then. I will tell him off... he should have told me about it".
A proud mother and an economist herself, Mrs Banerjee went on to describe her son's work as relating to the study of poverty and the shaping of public policy aimed at its eradication.
"He is trying to get economics away from theoretical work and trying to use it to understand how people handle poverty and how policy should be shaped to address these problems," she told NDTV today, adding, "At times we used to discuss various topics and issues on economics. He has also spoken on economic issues our country is facing presently".
"They (referring to her son and Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer, the other winners of the award) have worked in Africa, South America... Esther worked in Indonesia. They are looking at poverty and are very interested in how local economies overcome this problem," she explained.
Mrs Banerjee, who fielded an avalanche of congratulatory phone calls and text messages throughout her brief interaction with NDTV, also said that even though her son had accepted American citizenship in 2017, he remained an Indian at heart.
"He is very much an Indian. He was reluctant to change his citizenship," she said, adding that her son had been a book worm through his younger days but was a "great one at both sports and writing".
"He was always a brilliant and disciplined student. I am very happy and proud of his achievements," she said.
Abhijit Banerjee, who studied at the University of Calcutta and Jawaharlal Nehru University before earning his PhD from Harvard University in the United States in 1988, is currently an International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US.
Earlier today the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced that this year's Nobel Prize for Economics would be shared between Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer for their "experimental approach to alleviating global poverty has considerably improved our ability to fight global poverty".
In its release, the Academy said the trio's experiment-based approach had transformed development economics, which is now a flourishing field of research.
The prize amount of 9 million Swedish krona will be shared equally between the three laureates.
With input from PTI
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