First, the narrowing of the focus provides results that are not that surprising: more capital makes small firms more productive; better food increases schooling performance; access to vaccines improve health; better teachers mean better test scores for students. These are highly unsurprising results even if the measure of the effects is incredibly accurate. Some of their findings were, at first sight, more surprising. For example, Banerjee and Duflo (along with Rachel Glennerster) found that a program to deal with nurse absenteeism in Indian public hospitals that had positive effects initially was ultimately undermined by local politicians and bureaucrats. However, for scholars familiar with the insights from public choice theory and the economics of bureaucracy, the results are unsurprising. They illustrate a point they have been making for a long time regarding the need to consider public sector players to be just as self-interested as everybody else.
And here’s David Henderson on this year’s economics Nobel laureates. Here’s David’s conclusion:
Many other economists are asking that question, and coming up with big answers. Michael A. Clemens, an economist at the Center for Global Development, has written that removing or substantially reducing barriers to immigration would create tens of trillions of dollars of additional income for people from poor countries, while also benefiting the rich countries to which they move. How about a Nobel Prize to Mr. Clemens for working on a big question?