UC Berkeley's David Card wins 2021 Nobel Prize in economics

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The Nobel committee credited Card for his impact on policy debates over immigration, welfare reform and inequality
David Card, a labor economist and professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, has won the 2021 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for work that challenged orthodoxy and dramatically shifted understanding of inequality and the social and economic forces that impact low-wage workers. He was awarded half the prize, with the other half shared by economists Joshua Angrist of MIT and Guido Imbens of Stanford University.

Card is best known for pioneering studies in the 1990s that remain acutely relevant today, as they questioned the prevailing assumptions about the impact of immigration on native-born U.S. workers and the effect of minimum wage increases on domestic job growth.

Card, 65, a native of Ontario, Canada, is UC Berkeley's sixth economist to win the Nobel Prize in economics and the campus's 26th Nobel laureate overall. His predecessors are Oliver Williamson, (2009), George Akerlof (2001), Daniel McFadden (2000), John Harsanyi (1994) and Gérard Debreu (1983). Imbens, one of Card's two co-winners, was a member of UC Berkeley's faculty from 2002 to 2006, as a professor of economics and of agricultural and resource economics, before he left for Harvard University and then Stanford.

Announcing the award today in Stockholm, Sweden, the Economic Sciences Prize Committee at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences credited Card for his impact on policy debates over immigration, welfare reform and inequality.

Card's work "helped to answer important questions for society," said Peter Fredriksson, chair of the committee at a news conference in Sweden. Card's work, he added, "challenged conventional wisdom, which led to new studies and additional insights."

Taken together, the work by the three economists "revolutionized empirical work" in economics, the committee said.

Card learned of the award early Monday morning at his family's home in Santa Rosa — and thought it was a practical joke being played by mischievous colleagues. He had just…
Edward Lempinen, Yasmin Anwar
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