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"The Nobel Prize in economics. It's a big deal right. I mean I've heard of it. You know it's it's not not a big deal. They announce it once a year. It's been They've been giving out since nineteen sixty-nine and the winner gets a lot of money to get about a million dollars. Yeah unless more than one person wins and then the winners split the money and this year. It was a kind of three way tie economists. Micheal creamer estrogen flow Avid Banerjee. All won the prize together and they all all work in a branch of economics known as developing economics. They do a lot of their work together. Actually and basically what they do is apply economic principles to problems in the developing world and between the three of them. They figured out how to improve school. Attendance Children's house crop yields and social conditions for millions of people across Africa and India. In fact the Nobel Committee Committee estimated that the work these three economists have done has impacted millions of lives. Plus Esther diplo is the youngest person ever to win the economics prize. She's only forty-six Yup and only the second woman and her fellow Nobel Nobel avid energy also happens to be her husband and they both oth teach economics at MIT. This indicator for planet money. I'm Cardiff Garcia. And I'm Stacey Vanek Smith Today on the show Estra do flow and Abba Cheat Banerjee talk about their work work and what happens when you win a Nobel prize support for. NPR are comes from national car rental. Who wants you to know that with a membership in our complimentary Emerald Club you can skip the counter and choose any car in the aisle at participating national national locations? You can even select an upgrade without paying extra learn more at national car dot com slash. NPR My name is Estella. How'd you flew? I'm a professor of economics at Panaji and professor economics at Mit as well Nobel Prize winners to well. Congratulations thank you thank you so much. How did you guys find out? Where were you when you found out? You'd one considering they call you at a quarter to five. We were in our bed. Then we put it on speaker phone and I said free bad in in our house and we are not awake so we fumbling with revolt human. They couldn't hear us that we couldn't hear them and we hang up on them and whatever that but by and by hi we got of God to the destroyed pretty quickly than the past phone to someone who said he was very happy to inform me that I had being awarded the Nobel Prize in economics. And then my question was with whom and said always for southbound algae and I I said Oh great. Do you want to talk to him. It was so they said yes and I I give him the phone They instructed us that since Estero it was a woman and they wanted a woman to be the spokesperson. She would be the one person who will be depressed conference. They said it like that there were like we would like the woman to be the spokesperson resting. Okay and given that I went back to sleep and there was a way said it is. Let's go back to three like no. The man said I have to make some tea to be ready for the last one is that you have to make some D- psychot- up and since I'm like nothing but a diligent student. I made some team your co-winner Michael Kramer said that. He celebrated the news by upgrading. From Diet. Coke to regular coke. I'm curious to know if the two of you did something similarly extravagant no no no no we would never uh-huh neither of US drink coke okay. We didn't really have Easy option do you mind talking about your branch of economics of Vertical Development Economics. How do you describe it? Well It's economics off for countries in a sense it's sort of asking questions it's like. Why are some people very poor wire countries pork? Is there something we can do to help them. Get Out of it. It's kind of dancing around this question of off the origins and responses to poverty for a long time One of the criticisms of economics six was that the mathematicians the theorists were the ones who were sort of dominating the field It seems like your work was a shift in a different direction and that that shift is being rewarded by this prize. Is that an accurate characterization. In the last twenty twenty five years in general has been in economics and move to world a much more Regards geller ports to problems boosts in developed countries and in developing countries so libor economists. Study issues like you know. The impact of the minimum wage or the impact of migration on the wage of native eighteen workers. Always these kind of common concern that we also have notwithstanding the theory is what are the facts on the ground saying and if batons out that the facts are totally inconsistent with your Eden is probably the theory that needs to be rethought. Not The fact that you you should change one of the questions that you have. Tackled tackled is about absenteeism among teachers. Do you mind just talking about what the problem was. And some of the different solutions that you try absolutely to this. The problem is that you find in many developing countries that are the absence of teacher is very high so on average country which been measured. It's about twenty ninety five percents or every day that you go to a school. The teacher is absent so one of the early project I was involved with is to set up a Honda Honda mice controlled trial of. Make any him to try to improve teacher present. We give the teachers a camera and ask them to take a picture of themselves in the key twin to come to school so we get to school. A camera on one of the kids took your to every day at the beginning of the class and At the end of the class. And where was this. We did that in rural area in the Indian Hudson in district they will and what what we're finding is that is very simple. Conceit of asking not just to take a photo of themselves and tying their payment to the number of days did increase his presence it did increase effective teaching. That didn't just come and sleep and then go home. It has altered in to increase TESCO's the Nobel Committee also noted did that. The two of you are part of kind of ongoing conversation in economics about the uses and the limits of field experiments and randomized control trials. And a lot of times what that debate centers on is whether the results of randomized controlled trials or these experiments are generalized whether they can be applied to you other places except where they were specifically performed and whether they can be like scaled up to a lot more people so that for example something that works in a a sub Saharan African village will that work in you know all of India or in parts of the developed world that kind of thing. Can you just kind of give us your thoughts on like how you see the path forward. What you're learning from any particular experiment is rarely or never ooh tag that program and do it everywhere just to wait was what you're learning is potentially some locally useful a knowledge for example this particular and you can decide to scale that puck come up to keep it which is something that they I did? And in term of what's marginal useful for the world is oh this is an important problem. Absenteeism is fixable Saburo because teachers are sensitive to incentives attorneys in some context This is something that we could explore with different programs in different places. We'll thank you both for talking with us. Thank you so much. For having a Esu flow in Apogee Banerjee are both economists at Mit they just won the Nobel Belt Prize this year and they have a new book out called Good Economics for hard times. Today's episode of the indicator was produced by Jared Marcel. Back Checked by Nadia Louis. Our editor is Paddy Hirsch. An indicator is a production of NPR.."