The Korea Herald


American growth theorists top contenders for Nobel


Published : Oct. 10, 2011 - 11:38

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STOCKHOLM (AP) -- Researchers who study economic growth and how technology helps drive long-term development are among the top contenders for the Nobel prize for economics being awarded Monday, Swedish Nobel guessers say.

A day before the announcement of the prestigious 10 million kronor ($1.5 million) award, Americans Robert Barro and Paul Romer stand out as favorites for the prize for their research on growth, leading experts say.

The Nobel Committee maintains it doesn‘t pay attention to current events when picking a winner, but an award to growth theory would be closely watched as the world debates how to revive the economy in the face of large public spending cuts.

Romer, a former senior fellow at Stanford University now at New York University, has been hot “for a couple of decades,” said Uppsala University economics professor Daniel Waldenstrom. That is one of the unspoken criteria to win the prize because it typically takes that much time to evaluate if results are sustainable.

“His research is focused on powers within technology and development that drive growth, that had previously been overlooked,” Waldenstrom told The Associated Press. “He has showed that it is actually significant for long-term growth and has changed our view of what drives growth.”

Romer has constructed mathematical models showing how technological advances are the result of specific decisions to invest in research and development. Later, he advanced his ideas, concluding that to make real progress, societies must also keep implementing better rules that structure how people work together.

He could share the prize with growth theory pioneer Barro, a professor of economics at Harvard University, who has specifically looked at the links between innovation, public investment and growth.

Hubert Fromlet, a professor in International Economics at the Jonkoping International Business School and Linnaeus University in Sweden, put Barro among his top-five candidates for the prize.

Fromlet correctly predicted that American economist Dale Mortensen would win the award last year for his work, together with fellow prize winners Peter Diamond and Christopher Pissarides on developing a theory that helps explain why many people can remain unemployed despite a large number of job vacancies.

“You have to look at research areas: What areas haven’t been awarded in a while?” Fromlet said. “Most often a certain research area is awarded, but sometimes lifetime achievements can also be awarded.”

The economics prize is not among the original awards established by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel in his 1895 will, but was created in 1968 by the Swedish central bank in his memory.

Fromlet said other hot candidates for this year‘s award include: the India-born game theorist Avinash Dixit; French professor Jean Tirole, for work within industrial organization and other fields; as well as MIT professor Jerry A. Hausman, who created a method that allows scientists to evaluate their statistical models.

Also mentioned are Douglas Diamond of the University of Chicago, for his analysis of financial crises, or American professors Anne Krueger and Gordon Tullock for their description of a behavior they called rent-seeking, which refers to actions to manipulate an environment for personal gains without contributing to productivity.

Another potential candidate is American professor Martin S. Feldstein for his work on macroeconomics and public finance, including research on public pension systems.

Since the economy prize was first awarded in 1969, more than 40 Americans have received it.

Last week, Bruce Beutler of the U.S. and Frenchman Jules Hoffmann won medicine prize for their research on innate immunity, when receptor proteins that recognize bacteria and other microorganisms as they enter the body activate the first line of defense in the immune system.

They shared it with Canadian-born Ralph Steinman, who died three days before the announcement, and who was honored for his discovery of the dendritic cell and its role in adaptive immunity.

U.S.-born scientists Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt and Adam Riess won the physics prize for discovering that the universe is expanding at an accelerating pace, while Israeli scientist Dan Shechtman won the chemistry award for his discovery of quasicrystals, a mosaic-like chemical structure that researchers previously thought was impossible.

Acclaimed Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer won the literature prize and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen shared the Nobel Peace Prize “for their nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work”.

The awards are always handed out on Dec. 10, the anniversary of Nobel‘s death in 1896.


<한글 기사>

노벨경제학상 1순위는 ‘장기 성장’ 분야

폴 로머-로버트 배로 교수 후보 물망

올해 노벨 경제학상은 전세계적인 ‘더블딥(이중 침체)’ 우려를 반영하듯 성장 연구자들이 수상 1순위로 꼽혔다.

노벨위원회가 수상자 선정에 현재 경제여건을 크게 고려하지 않는 것이 일반적인 경향이지만 재정지출을 대폭 삭감하는 동시에 경제를 살리는 지혜가 필요한 현 상황에서 성장 연구 분야가 주목받을 수밖에 없다고 스웨덴 전문가들이 9일 전했다.

이 분야의 단골 후보는 거시경제학자인 폴 로머 교수(뉴욕대)와 로버트 배로 교 수(하버드대)다.

로머 교수는 기술발전이 장기적 성장에 실제로 중요한 변수라는 점을 입증했으며 연구개발 투자 결정이 기술발전에 미치는 영향을 예측하는 수학적 모델을 구축했 다.

혁신 및 공공투자와 성장간의 상관관계를 집중 분석한 배로 교수는 로머와 공동 수상 가능성이 점쳐지고 있다.

이밖에도 인도 출신의 게임 이론가인 아미나시 딕시트 교수(프린스턴대)와 기업 경쟁과 시장행동 등을 연구하는 산업조직론 분야의 프랑스 미시경제학자 장 티롤 교 수(툴루즈대)도 후보군에 올랐다.

통계모델 검증 방법론을 만든 미국의 제리 A. 하우스만 교수(매사추세츠공대), 금융위기 분석 연구자인 더글러스 다이아먼드 교수(시카고대), 지대추구 행위 개념 을 정의한 미국의 앤 크루거 교수(존스홉킨스대)와 고든 털록 교수(조지메이슨대), 연금제도 등 공적 재정 분야의 대가인 마틴 S. 펠드스타인 교수(하버드대) 등도 물망에 올랐다.

지난해 노벨 경제학상은 노동시장의 수요와 공급 불일치 현상의 원인과 대안을 제시한 피터 다이아몬드 교수(매사추세츠공대)와 데일 모텐슨 교수(노스웨스턴대), 크리스토포로스 피사리데스 교수(런던정경대) 등 3명에게 돌아갔다.