Predicting 2014’s “Fauxbel” Laureate(s)

The announcement of the 2014 Nobel laureates in economics – or rather, “Fauxbel” laureates, given that the economics prize is technically not a “Nobel Prize” – is due tomorrow morning. I offered some predictions last year as to who would win, and I actually got one! (Got one correct, that is; I myself was not among those honored with an early morning call from Swedish-accented strangers.)

Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen predicts that the Nobel committee will select William J. Baumol, perhaps in conjunction with William G. Bowen, for his work on the cost disease. The Guardian floats Baumol as well, along with a host of others. So does Thomson Reuters, which also places its bets on Philippe Aghion, Peter Howitt, Israel Kirzner, and Mark Granovetter (a sociologist). Econ Job Market Rumors, one of the internet’s great econ-themed cesspools, has a thread on Nobel predictions where one poster wonders whether, instead of giving a prize this year, the committee shouldn’t opt for taking some back.

The Wall Street Journal’s Real Time Economics lists a number of contenders, including my own official guess: Harvard University’s Robert Barro. As noted by RTE, Barro currently ranks as the #2 most-cited economist on IDEAS, a database of research papers in economics maintained by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and he is mentioned almost every year as a leading contender for the highest honor in the discipline.

An additional reason why I’m wagering that it’ll be Barro is because of the rough alternation of the prize between recognition of empirical and theoretical work. Last year’s award highlighted empirical research in asset pricing, 2012’s honored two theorists, and 2011’s celebrated the development of econometric techniques used to untangle cause and effect in macroeconomics. Barro is best known for his contributions to growth theory, so his selection would certainly fit with this pattern. It’s also been over 25 years since a Nobel was explicitly awarded for work in this area, so the field is arguably due. Plus, a Barro win would undoubtedly mean some entertaining tweets from his son, a factor the committee presumably weighs heavily.

Here’s hoping my one-year streak remains unbroken!

Who Will Win the Economics Nobel?

Tomorrow morning will see the announcement of the winner(s) of the 2013 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, colloquially known as the Nobel Prize in Economics.

Thomson Reuters has a tradition of offering predictions as to who will take home the Economics Prize, as well as the Nobels in Medicine, Chemistry, and Physics (for whatever reason they don’t try their hand at guessing Literature and Peace). Their performance this year was hardly stellar – the only correct prediction was for Physics, which was awarded to Francois Englert and Peter Higgs last week for their own correct prediction about the existence of the Higgs Boson – so perhaps we shouldn’t put too much stock in their forecasting ability.

In any case, Reuters identifies three groups of economists as possible recipients: MIT’s Joshua Angrist, Berkeley’s David Card, and Princeton’s Alan Krueger for their work in empirical microeconomics; Oxford’s David Hendry, Cambridge’s M. Hashem Pesaran, and Yale’s Peter Phillips for their work in time series analysis; and Chicago Booth’s Sam Peltzman and Chicago Law’s Richard Posner for their work in the economic theory of regulation.

The New York TimesEconomix blog and the Wall Street Journal’s Real Time Economics also weigh in with a host of other guesses. Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen notes that his “personal prediction (which never once has been correct, at least not in the proper year) is for an early ‘shock’ prize to Banerjee, Duflo, and Kremer…” The second, MIT’s Esther Duflo, is a winner of the American Economic Association’s John Bates Clark Medal, many former recipients of which have ultimately gone on to become Nobel laureates.

My own bet is for a prize in applied micro or econometrics, given that fields such as game theory and macro have been recognized multiple times in the last several years. If it’s the former, then I’ll follow Reuters’ lead in betting on Card and Krueger. If the latter, then I think Real Time Economics is justified in claiming that Chicago’s Lars Hansen, who developed the technique known as the “generalized method of moments”, “is seen by many as a shoo-in.”

Update: I got one! (Correct, that is. I did not win one myself.)