This year's Nobel prize in economics was awarded to Oliver Williamson and Elinor Ostrom. But more precisely, this year's Nobel prize in economics was awarded to no one, because there is no such prize. Matt Yglesias explains:
I would note that the Sveriges Riksbank itself deserves some kind of prize for its ability to get people to call its economics prize “the Nobel Prize.” Real Nobel Prizes are prizes awarded according to the endowment that Alfred Nobel set up. There are, of course, lots of other prizes in the world set up by other people. One such prize is this economics prize that the Swedish Central Bank decided to give out. But only the Swedish Central Bank prize has succeeded in convincing people that it should be referred to as a “Nobel Prize” despite having no connection to Alfred Nobel or his prizes. Impressive work and yet another example of the impressively high-performing public sector institutions that make the Swedish social model work.
The prize is actually called the "Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Science in Honor of Alfred Nobel," but it's managed to muscle into the Nobel hype. Stay tuned for the Ezra Klein Prize in Blogging Achievement in Honor of Alfred Nobel," which will also be known as the Nobel prize in blogging.
As for the recipients, the exciting news is that Ostrom won, making her the first woman to ever receive the award. Ostrom also happens to be a political scientist, which seems like a useful admission that economics has spread far beyond its original boundaries, and is increasingly intertwined with political science, psychology, sociology and many other disciplines. For more on this year's winners, see Paul Krugman and Ed Glaeser.
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