Monday, October 10, 2016

Nobel prize: Western bias?

Year after year, most Nobel awards are won by academics from the U S and Europe. This year, announcement has already been made in the fields of medicine, chemistry, physics, peace and economics. The ten awardees are British (5), French (1), Finn (1), Japanese (1), Colombian (1) and Dutch (1).

Interestingly, six of these are based in American universities teaching , doing research and of course publishing. There is no doubt that American universities are among the best. These universities can afford costly equipment which is perhaps a necessary wherewithal for high-quality work in science. In the normal course these universities should not have any edge over others in Economics. There is empirical evidence, however, that association with an American university is a necessary condition for bagging the Nobel prize in Economics. This skew is disturbing.

This is not to suggest that there is a deliberate discrimination in these awards. It could be that economists in other countries are not doing enough to catch the attention of the Nobel committee that decides.

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