Israeli-American economist Joshua Angrist was awarded the 2021 Nobel economics prize alongside David Card and Guido Imbens for pioneering the use of “natural experiments” to understand the causal effects of economic policy and other events.
Natural experiments use real-life situations to work out impacts on the world, an approach that has spread to other fields and revolutionized empirical research.
Canada-born Card, 65 and a professor of economics at the University of Berkeley, California, took half the prize “for his empirical contributions to labor economics,” the academy said. Angrist and Imbens, the latter of whom is 58 and a professor of economics at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, shared the other half “for their methodological contributions to the analysis of causal relationships.”
“I was just absolutely stunned to get a telephone call, then I was just absolutely thrilled to hear the news,” Imbens said on a call with reporters in Stockholm, adding he was thrilled to share the prize with two of his good friends. Angrist was best man at his wedding.
The Nobel Institute said in a statement that the three laureates had “provided us with new insights about the labor market and shown what conclusions about cause and effect can be drawn from natural experiments,” NBC reported.