Opinion

What’s the Point of the Economics Nobel?

Mervyn King

By Mervyn King

The real value of the prize is simply that once a year public attention is drawn to an important set of ideas.

By Mervyn King

Next week marks the 50th anniversary of the Nobel Prize in Economics, as it has come to be known. It was first awarded in 1969 by the Swedish central bank as an addendum to the other, much older, Nobel prizes (and is correctly known as the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel). This upstart status subtracts nothing from the esteem, or cash, accorded to the laureates. The latest winner, or winners, will be announced Monday.

What have we learned from half a century of these awards — and is there any point to them? 

Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia certainly see a point. The celebratory banquet — each December, at the Stockholm City Hall — is broadcast on live television across the region. Where else would reality television mean listening to a commentary on the dress (white tie and tails for those identifying as male) and careers of academic superstars, not to mention the menu?

Read the full Bloomberg article.

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Lord Mervyn King is the Alan Greenspan Professor of Economics and a professor of Economics and Law, a joint appointment with New York University School of Law.