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This year's choice is heart-warming, because it reaffirms the need for a scientific frame to look at issues pertaining to Economics.

Essentially, what Banerjee, Duflo, and Kremer have done is to study the poor, with a keen, scientific eye, as though it was a lab experiment. 1/2
2/2 Just observing the poor led to a remarkable change in the way problems relating to poverty, health, education, can be tackled. The Laureates did what EVERY politician should.

Observing the poor in a cold, scientific way doesn't mean you are cold-hearted. It means you care.
1/n One simple "lab experiment" illustrates this: Observing pitiful attendance at a free infant immunisation camp in a Rajasthan village, Banerjee & Duflo suggested a control study: give one group of mothers 1 kg free daal if they come to the clinic.

Immunisations shot up.
2/n Now this goes against conventional wisdom - to give a free handout to someone just so she comes to get something that is already being provided free. But the mother who is poor doesn't think like this. Vaccination for her baby perhaps provides long-term benefit, she ponders.
3/n The mother balances this benefit against the immediate return - of perhaps earning a daily wage, tilling the field, collecting water for the day's needs, preparing dinner for the family. But if there is a further incentive, of collecting free of cost 1 kg daal, she is swayed.
4/n The nudge thus helps the mother - more food at the table; the baby - freedom from a crippling disease; the family - freedom from hospital expenses in the long-run. The cost of that 1 kg daal has more than balanced out the future cost due to malnutrition or disease treatment.
5/n Another solution, of course, is to have mobile vaccination clinics. But this was just an example - of how merely observing the poor helps mitigate problems.

Banerjee, Duflo, and Kremer have conducted 560 such "experiments". They changed our thinking. Richly deserved award.
6/n Many are pointing to one of the first such "experiments" - that of Kamaraj and his midday-meal scheme. Of course. Maybe he's an inspiration for the three Laureates. And remember, Kamaraj may not have won this award but he is, and will remain, immortal.
n/n Finally, yes, Banerjee did formulate NYAY that would have cost 2% of our GDP or 3.6 lac crore every year, a sum he wanted raised not through junking wasteful expenditure but, rather, through higher taxes. But one bad idea doesn't cancel out 560 great ideas. Kudos to him.
The two are unconnected. Mullis got the Nobel for the PCR in the year he stupidly "disproved" the HIV hypothesis.

The genesis of Banerjee's 560 great ideas was 20 years ago. NYAY was this year. [In fact, he proposes UBI for ALL Indians above age 15.] WDTT
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