Nobel winner Abhijit Banerjee went back to sleep after getting the news from Stockholm early Monday morning that he, his wife Esther Duflo, and Harvard University’s Michael Kremer had been awarded the coveted economics award. “Yes. It was very early in the morning. I’m not an early morning person. I figured it would be an assault to the system if I don’t continue my sleep," Banerjee said in an interview with NobelPrize.org.
The trio won the 2019 Nobel Prize for Economics, which was announced on Monday at around 6am New York time.
Banerjee said he couldn’t get much sleep later as news of the honour spread from India to Europe and he started getting congratulatory calls.
He also termed winning the award with his wife—a rare achievement—as “special". Only four other married couples have won the Nobel together in the prize’s history. “It’s sort of been an entire family enterprise in the sense between J-PAL and the research and working at MIT. There’s lots of dimensions of the work that just becomes much more pleasant when you do it with your partner."
Banerjee was educated at Presidency College in Kolkata, Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University and Harvard, where he received his Ph.D in 1988.
He is currently the Ford Foundation International professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In 2003, Banerjee founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), along with Duflo and Sendhil Mullainathan, and remains one of the lab’s directors.