Carping from time to time over the unworthiness or politics of a particular Nobel peace or literature laureate is expected. But when it comes to economics, it’s the award itself that sometimes comes in for sneers; even a couple of its winners have suggested it be abolished. Unlike the original five prizes named in Alfred Nobel’s will more than a century ago, the economics award formally called the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel was created in 1968 by the nation’s central bank in honor of its 300th anniversary. But it isn’t so much bloodlines that have stirred up dismay as the kind of work that has often been honored. “They’re not engaged in the problems of the actual world,” said James K. Galbraith, an economist at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin, voicing an all-too-common complaint that much of the Nobel-anointed economic work seems out of touch with reality. Complaints about prize winners generally fall into one of three categories: too ideological; too preoccupied with theory and mathematics; or too narrowly focused on problems facing Wall Street instead of on pressing global issues like inequality, poverty and the environment.
The New York Times
The Prize That Even Some Laureates Question