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American duo wins Economics Nobel; more interesting facts

Last updated on: October 10, 2011 17:45 IST

American duo wins Economics Nobel; more interesting facts

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The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences has been awarded jointly to Thomas J Sargent and Christopher A Sims "for their impirical research on cause and effect in the macroeconomy".

Christopher Albert Sims is an econometrician and macroeconomist. He is currently the Harold B Helms Professor of Economics and Banking at Princeton University.

Sims, who was born in 1942, earned his PhD in Economics in 1968 at Harvard University.

He has held teaching positions at Harvard, University of Minnesota, Yale University and, since 1999, Princeton.

Sims has published numerous important papers in his areas of research: econometrics and macroeconomic theory and policy.

Among other things, he was one of the main promoters of the use of Vector auto-regression in empirical macroeconomics.

He has also helped develop the fiscal theory of the price level and the theory of rational inattention.

Thomas John Sargent is an American economist specializing in the fields of macroeconomics, monetary economics and time series econometrics.

Sargent, who was born in 1943, earned his PhD in 1968 from Harvard University, and is presently William R Berkley Professor of Economics and Business at New York University.

He is known as "one of the leaders of the rational expectations revolution" and the author of numerous path-breaking papers.

Working with Neil Wallace, Sargent developed the saddle path stability characterization of the rational expectations equilibrium.

He is considered to be among the most influential economists in the world.

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Image: Thomas John Sargent, left, and Christopher Albert Sims, right.

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Winners of Nobel Prize in Economics and some interesting facts

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On November 27, 1895, Alfred Nobel signed his last will and testament, giving the largest share of his fortune to a series of prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology and Medicine, Literature and Peace - the Nobel Prizes.

In 1968, Sveriges Riksbank (Sweden's central bank) established The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.

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Image: Alfred Nobel.

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Winners of Nobel Prize in Economics and some interesting facts

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Total winners

Between 1901 and 2010, the Nobel Prizes and the Prize in Economic Sciences have been awarded 543 times.

There have been a few years in which the Nobel Prize has not been awarded, particularly during World War I and II.

In the statutes of the Nobel Foundation it says: "If none of the works under consideration is found to be of the importance indicated in the first paragraph, the prize money shall be reserved until the following year.

"If, even then, the prize cannot be awarded, the amount shall be added to the Foundation's restricted funds."

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Image: There have been a few years in which the Nobel Prize has not been awarded.

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Winners of Nobel Prize in Economics and some interesting facts

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Nobel Laureates

Eight hundred and seventeen Laureates and 23 organizations have been awarded the Nobel Prize between 1901 and 2010.

Of them, 67 are Laureates in Economic Sciences. A small number of individuals and organizations have been honoured more than once, which means that 813 individuals and 20 unique organizations have received the Nobel Prize in total.

The word "Laureate" refers to being signified by the laurel wreath.

In Greek mythology, the god Apollo is represented wearing a laurel wreath on his head. A laureal wreath is a circular crown made of branches and leaves of the bay laurel.

In ancient Greek laurel wreaths were awarded to victors as a sign of honour - both in athletic competitions and in poetic meets.

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Image: Greek god Apollo.

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Winners of Nobel Prize in Economics and some interesting facts

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Women winners

Forty-one Nobel Prizes and Prizes in Economic Sciences have been awarded to women and 776 to men between 1901 and 2010.

A small number of Nobel Laureates have been honoured more than once, which makes a total of 40 females and 773 males who have received the Nobel Prize.

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Image: Past winners Elizabeth Blackburn (left) and Carol Greider (right).

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Winners of Nobel Prize in Economics and some interesting facts

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Youngest Laureate

To date, the youngest Nobel Laureate is Lawrence Bragg, who was just 25 years old when he received the Nobel Prize in Physics with his father in 1915.

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Image: Lawrence Bragg.

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Winners of Nobel Prize in Economics and some interesting facts

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Oldest winner

The oldest Laureate to date is Leonid Hurwicz, who was 90 years old when he was awarded the 2007 Prize in Economic Sciences.

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Image: Leonid Hurwicz.

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Winners of Nobel Prize in Economics and some interesting facts

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Oldest living Laureate

The Nobel Laureate who has lived to the oldest age is Rita Levi-Montalcini, who was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

She celebrated her 102 anniversary on April 22, 2011.

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Image: Rita Levi-Montalcini.

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Winners of Nobel Prize in Economics and some interesting facts

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Those who declined the award

Jean-Paul Sartre, awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature, declined the prize because he had consistently declined all official honours.

Le Duc Tho, awarded the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. They were awarded the Prize for negotiating the Vietnam peace accord.

Le Doc Tho said that he was not in a position to accept the Nobel Peace Prize, citing the situation in Vietnam as his reason.

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Image: Jean-Paul Sartre.

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Winners of Nobel Prize in Economics and some interesting facts

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Forced to refuse the prize

Adolf Hitler forbade three German Nobel Laureates, Richard Kuhn, Adolf Butenandt and Gerhard Domagk, from accepting the Nobel Prize.

All of them would later receive the Nobel Prize Diploma and Medal, but not the prize amount.

Boris Pasternak, the 1958 Nobel Laureate in Literature, initially accepted the Nobel Prize but was later coerced by the authorities of the Soviet Union, his native country, to decline the Nobel Prize.

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Image: Adolf Hitler stopped three German winners from accepting the award.

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Winners of Nobel Prize in Economics and some interesting facts

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Laureates under arrest at the time of the award

German pacifist and journalist Carl von Ossietzky

Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi

Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo

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Image: Carl von Ossietzky.

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Winners of Nobel Prize in Economics and some interesting facts

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Multiple winners

The work of the International Committee of the Red Cross has been honoured by a Nobel Peace Prize three times.

Besides, the founder of the ICRC, Henry Dunant, was awarded the first Nobel Peace Prize in 1901.

Linus Pauling is the only person to have been awarded two unshared Nobel Prizes - the 1954 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and the 1962 Nobel Peace Prize.


Image: International Committee of the Red Cross.

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