Field experiments vs Failed experiments; What we learn from 2019 Nobel Laureates

The 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics has been awarded to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer "for their experimental approach to alleviate global poverty." Understandably, the excitement is palpable-from TV Studios and on social media, for Professor Banerjee, an Indian origin economist, always known to express strong views. While a part of me is almost basking in reflected glory, I am more excited about what this years’ Nobel is awarded for, rather than to whom. For economists, the challenge their discipline posits and to find a roadmap to address them, caused them to popularise field experiments. These experiments address the issue 'how do we take out millions out of poverty?'. There are lessons in it for India as well. But let us start with the challenges they addressed.

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