Abhijit Banerjee Biography: Early Life, Family, Education, Career, Books and Nobel Prize

Abhijit Banerjee Biography: Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee is an Indian-American economist. He currently serves at Massachusetts Institute of Technology as the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics.
Created On: May 5, 2020 18:16 IST
Modified On: May 5, 2020 18:28 IST
Abhijit Banerjee Biography
Abhijit Banerjee Biography

Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee is an Indian-American economist. He currently serves at  Massachusetts Institute of Technology as the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics. Banerjee along with his wife Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2019. Banerjee and Duflo are the sixth married couple who shared the Noble Prize. 

In 2003, Abhijit Banerjee along with economists Esther Duflo and Sendhil Mullainathan co-founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). Banerjee is the former president of the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development. Abhijit Banerjee is also a Research Associate of the NBER, a research fellow of the CEPR, International Research Fellow of the Kiel Institute and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society. 

Birth February 21, 1961, in Bombay, India
Education  BSc (Presidency College, University of Calcutta); MA (JNU); PhD (Harvard University)
Wife Arundhati Tuli Banerjee (divorced 2014); Esther Duflo (m. 2015)
Citizenship United States
Awards  Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2019)
Profession Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics

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Abhijit Banerjee: Early Life, Family and Education

Abhijit Banerjee was born on February 21, 1961, in Bombay (Present-day Mumbai) to Dipak Banerjee and Nirmala Banerjee. Abhijit Banerjee's father Dipak Banerjee was the HOD of Economics at Presidency College, Calcutta (Present-day Kolkata) while his mother Nirmala Banerjee was a professor of economics at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta (Present-day Kolkata), West Bengal. 

Abhijit Banerjee did his schooling from South Point High School, Calcutta, West Bengal. In 1981, Banerjee completed his graduation from Presidency College in B.Sc. (Hons.) in Economics. He then moved to Delhi and completed a Master of Arts degree in Economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University in 1983. Abhijit Banerjee was sent to Tihar Jail after he participated in a protest and gheraoed the then Vice-Chancellor of JNU, PN Srivastava. In 1988, Abhijit Banerjee completed his PhD from Harvard University in the subject 'Essays in Information Economics'. 

Abhijit Banerjee: Personal Life

Abhijit Banerjee was married to Dr Arundhati Tuli Banerjee who is the lecturer of literature at MIT. The couple had a son Kabir Banerjee who died in an accident in 2016. Kabir was the only son of the couple and was born in 1991. In 2015, Abhijit Banerjee married Esther Duflo (his co-researcher at MIT). The couple has two children. Esther Duflo is a Professor (Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics) at MIT. 

Abhijit Banerjee: Carrer

Abhijit Banerjee currently serves at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics. Banerjee has also rendered his services at Harvard University and Princeton University. 

Abhijit Banerjee along with his wife Esther Duflo worked on development economics. In 2004, Banerjee was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2009, Banerjee was awarded the Infosys Prize in the category of social science (economics). He is also the recipient of the inaugural Infosys Prize in the social sciences category of economics. In 2012, Banerjee and his co-author shared the  Gerald Loeb Award Honorable Mention for their Business Book 'Poor Economics'.

In 2013, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon named Abhijit Banerjee to a panel of experts who were tasked to update the Millennium Development Goals after their expiry in 2015. 

In 2014, Kiel Institute for the World Economy awarded Abhijit Banerjee with the Bernhard-Harms-Prize. In 2019, Banerjee delivered Export-Import Bank of India's 34th Commencement Day Annual Lecture on Redesigning Social Policy.

In 2019, Abhijit Banerjee shared Nobel Prize with his wife Ester Duflo and Michael Kremer 'for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty'.

Abhijit Banerjee: Researches

Abhijit Banerjee along with his co-workers measured the effectiveness of government programmes in improving the lives of the people. Abhijit Banerjee with his fellow researcher Esthar Duflo carried out an experiment in India. Mothers in Rajasthan were not getting their children vaccinated although the vaccine was free in India. The duo carried out an experiment where they rewarded the mothers with a bag full of pulses who vaccinated their children against Polio. After this experiment, the immunization rate hiked in the region. They carried out similar experiments to measure the effectiveness of government programmes in improving the lives of the people.

Abhijit Banerjee: Books 

1- Volatility And Growth (2005) by Philippe Aghion and Abhijit Banerjee.

2- Understanding Poverty (2006) by Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, Roland Bénabou and Dilip Mookherjee. 

3- Making Aid Work (2005) by Abhijit Banerjee.  

4-  Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty (2011) by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo. 

5- Handbook of Field Experiments, Volume 1 (2017) by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo. 

6- Handbook of Field Experiments, Volume 2 (2017) by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo.

7- A Short History of Poverty Measurements (2019) by Abhijit Banerjee. 

8- Good Economics for Hard Times (2019) by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo.

Abhijit Banerjee has authored a large number of articles and four books. Banerjee's books co-authored with his wife Esther Duflo won the Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year and Good Economics for Hard Times. Abhijit Banerjee has also edited three books and has directed two documentary films.

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