A Nobel Prize for a revolution in economics

7 min read
David Card, Joshua Angrist, and Guido Imbens win a Nobel Prize for revolutionizing how economics is done.
A Nobel Prize for a revolution in economics

Enlarge this image toggle caption CLAUDIO BRESCIANI/TT NEWS AGENCY/AFP via Getty Ima CLAUDIO BRESCIANI/TT NEWS AGENCY/AFP via Getty Ima

Sure, winning the Nobel Prize in economics may be one of the crowning achievements of David Card's storied career. And, yeah, he gets to split more than a million dollars with the two other winners of the 2021 prize, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens. But that's just the cake. There's also the icing. David Card teaches at UC Berkeley, so for him becoming a Nobel laureate comes with an extra perk: free parking for life. Seriously.

"Yes, Professor Card, in addition to your Nobel Prize — and, indeed, because of it — I'm pleased to award you a highly coveted parking space near your office," said UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol T. Christ on the morning of the Nobel announcement. "I've been told that, like many Berkeley faculty members, you actually ride your bike to work, so let me see how we might go about creating a special place for you to park it in."

We are eagerly waiting to see what UC Berkeley devises to help newly minted Nobel laureate David Card park his bike in style. As for the prize itself, it adds official pageantry to something we econ nerds already know about Card: his work, frequently done in collaboration with his late coauthor Alan Krueger, has completely reshaped the field of economics. Economists consider their work one of the opening salvos in what is sometimes termed the "credibility revolution," or the empirical revolution. This refers to a movement in economics to create innovative research designs, aimed at finding credible evidence to answer important policy questions. Following Card and Krueger's opening shots, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens parachuted in and gave the revolution another victory by deploying even more statistically sophisticated weapons.

Thanks to the work of these new Nobel laureates, economics these days has become more of an evidence-based…
Greg Rosalsky
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