Abhijit Banerjee Profile
Abhijit Banerjee is an Indian-American Economist/Author serving as the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Previously, he has also taught at Harvard University and Princeton University.
Abhijit Banerjee Age
Banerjee was born on February 21, 1961, in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India as Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee. He is therefore 62 years old as of 2023.
Abhijit Banerjee Height
He stands at an approximate height of 5 feet 8 inches.
Abhijit Banerjee Family
Banerjee was born in Mumbai, India to his loving and caring Bengali parents. His father, Dipak Banerjee, was working as a professor of economics at Presidency College, Calcutta. On the other hand, his mother, Nirmala Banerjee (née Patankar) was a professor of economics at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta. His father earned a Ph.D. in economics from the London School of Economics.
Abhijit Banerjee Wife
Banerjee has been married twice. He was first married to his ex-wife, Dr. Arundhati Tuli Banerjee, who was working as a lecturer at MIT. They, however, unfortunately, divorced having one son named Kabir Banerjee. Kabir also, unfortunately, passed away in a tragic road accident in March 2016. Later on, in the year 2015, he married his co-researcher and MIT professor, Esther Duflo.
Together, the two are proud parents to their two children. Abhijit was a joint supervisor of Duflo’s Ph.D. in economics at MIT in the year 1999. Duflo also serves as a Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at MIT.
Abhijit Banerjee’s Net Worth
Banerjee has an estimated net worth of around $1 Million he has earned through his successful career as an Economist/Author.
Abhijit Banerjee Education
Banerjee attended South Point High School which is a renowned educational institution in Calcutta. Later on, after his schooling, he took admitted to Presidency College and then an affiliated college of the University of Calcutta and now an autonomous university. There he completed his BSc(H) Degree in economics in the year 1981. Later on, he went on to complete his Master of Arts in Economics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi in the year 1983.
During his time studying at JNU, he was arrested and imprisoned in Tahir Jail during a protest after the students gheraoed the then Vice Chancellor PN Srivastava of the university. Later on, he was released on bail and charges were subsequently dropped against the students. He later went on to join Harvard University where he obtained a Ph.D. in the year 1988. The subject of his doctoral thesis was “Essays in Information Economics.”
Abhijit Banerjee Career
Banerjee happens to be the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Back in the year 2013, he shared a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics Sciences with Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer. They received this award for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty. Together with Duflo, who are married, they were the sixth married couple to jointly win a Nobel Prize.
Abhijit has previously been a Guggenheim Fellow and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow. His work mainly focuses on development economics. He and Duflo have discussed field experiments as an important methodology to discover causal relationships in economics.
Banerjee was previously selected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in the year 2014. Asides from this, he was honored with the Infosys Prize 2009 in the social sciences category of economics. In addition to this, he was the recipient of the inaugural Infosys Prize in the category of social sciences (economics). This is in addition to serving on the Social Sciences jury for the Infosys Prize in 2018. Back in the year 2012, he shared the Gerald Loeb Award Honorable Mention for Business Book with co-author Esther Duflo for their book Poor Economics.
Later on, in the year 2013, he was privileged to be named the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to a panel of experts tasked with updating the Millennium Development Goals after 2015 which was their expiration date.
Back in the year 2014, he was also privileged to receive the Bernhard-Harms-Prize from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. Later on, in 2019, he delivered the Export-Import Bank of India’s 34th Commencement Day Annual Lecture on Redesigning Social Policy.
Abhijit Banerjee Research and work in India
Banerjee and his co-workers try to measure the effectiveness of actions (such as government programs) in improving people’s lives. In order to achieve this, they use randomized controlled trials. This is similar to clinical trials in medical research. An example includes, despite polio vaccination being free in India, many mothers did not bring their children to vaccination drives.
Together with Professor Esther Duflo, still from MIT, they tried an experiment in Rajasthan where they gave a bag of pulses to mothers who vaccinated their children. After this, the immunization rate went up in the region. Another experiment saw them find that learning outcomes improved in schools that were provided with teaching assistants in order to help students with special needs.
Banerjee is the co-founder of Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab(along with economists Esther Duflo and Sendhil Mullainathan). While in India, he was serving on the academic advisory board of Plaksha University. This is a Science and Technology University established in the year 2010.
Abhijit Banerjee Awards/Nobel
Banerjee was privileged to receive the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in the year 2019. He received this award alongside fellow researchers, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer. The Press Release from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences noted: “Their experimental research methods now entirely dominated development economics.”
This Nobel Prize was a major recognition for their chosen field- Development Economics, and for the use of Randomized Controlled Trials. This evoked mixed emotions in India where his success was celebrated with nationalistic fervor while his approach and pro-poor focus were seen as a negation of India’s current government’s ideology as well as a broader discourse.
Banerjee was awarded the Doctor of Letters(Honoris Causa) by the University of Calcutta in the month of January 2020. Together with his wife, they received the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement in the month of September 2022.
Abhijit Banerjee Books
Asides from his career as an economist, he has authored a number of books. Some of the books he co-authored with his wife. These books include;
- Banerjee, Abhijit Vinayak; Duflo, Esther, eds. (2017). Handbook of Field Experiments, Volume 1. North-Holland Publishing Company.
- Banerjee, Abhijit Vinayak (2005). Making Aid Work. Cambridge: MIT Press.
- Banerjee, Abhijit V.; Duflo, Esther (2019). Good Economics for Hard Times. PublicAffairs.
- Aghion, Philippe; Banerjee, Abhijit (2005). Volatility And Growth. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Banerjee, Abhijit V.; Duflo, Esther (2011). Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty. New York: Public Affairs.
- Banerjee, Abhijit Vinayak; Bénabou, Roland; Mookherjee, Dilip, eds. (2006). Understanding Poverty. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.
- Banerjee, Abhijit Vinayak; Duflo, Esther, eds. (2017). Handbook of Field Experiments, Volume 2. North-Holland Publishing Company.
- Banerjee, Abhijit Vinayak ( 2019 ). A Short History of Poverty Measurements. Juggernaut Books.