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Nobel Laureates in Economic Sciences speakers at the Misum Forum

This Nobel week, we revisit academic talks delivered by two notable Nobel Laureates at the Misum Forum, the flagship conference hosted by the Mistra Center for Sustainable Markets (Misum) at the Stockholm School of Economics.

Every October, Misum convenes thought leaders to address some of the most significant global challenges of our time. From the Covid crisis, to climate change, and global poverty, the Misum Forum has hosted timely conversations with renowned academics and industry leaders alike.

At the previous two editions, Misum proudly welcomed two laureates of the Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. In 2021, we were joined by Prof. Joseph Stiglitz from Columbia University and in 2022, by Prof. Abhijit Banerjee from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Prof. Stiglitz received the Nobel Memorial Prize in 2001, together with George Akerlof and Michael Spence, “for their analyses of markets with asymmetric information”. The 2021 edition of the Misum Forum focused on climate change challenges and possible solutions. In this context, Prof. Stiglitz presented his work on climate policy instruments, including carbon pricing, regulations, and public investments.

Prof. Stiglitz on how climate targets are set and debated in the international community:

“Economists make a distinction between risk and uncertainty: risk is where we know with some confidence the probability distributions of various outcomes, and uncertainty is where we are so uncertain that we don’t even know where the probability distributions are. And climate change is best described as confronting us with uncertainty. We really don’t know the full consequences, but what we do know is sufficiently unsettling that the international community has rightly decided that it is not worth taking that risk. To put it in another way, it is, I would argue, possible to avoid this extreme uncertainty by modest investments in mitigation.” (watch the entire session here)

Prof. Banerjee received the Nobel Memorial Prize in 2019, together with Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer, “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty”. The Misum Forum 2022 focused on the role and responsibility of business and industry in alleviating poverty. At the Forum, Prof. Banerjee talked about the work of the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), which was created in 2003 with the aim of reducing poverty through scientific-based policy, specifically informed by the method of randomized control trials (RCTs).

Prof. Banerjee on the value of experiments such as randomized control trials:

“The world doesn’t do things in order to generate knowledge, it does things in order to generate outcomes. Therefore, lots of the experiments that we run would not happen in the world. The experiments are actually manipulations of very specific beneficiary interventions, which we would never see in the world. The real power of experiments has often been to pinpoint a question that is otherwise asked in a very broad, sweeping way. We get to cut it into little pieces and address them.” (watch the entire session here)

Read more about the Misum Forum 2021 and the Misum Forum 2022, or revisit the events’ recordings.