I’ve been mum on the Nobel prize in economics because I honestly don’t know much about Jean Tirole and his microeconomic work. But I think we should silence one discussion that inevitably arises every time the award is handed out. That’s the idea that the award is somehow fake or something. It’s true that the award in economics wasn’t conceived by Alfred Nobel and was added over 70 years after he died. And it’s true that the award was created by the Swedish Central Bank in large part to celebrate its 300th anniversary. So what?
No matter how many times people say that the award isn’t “official” it just doesn’t matter. The reason why is because the award actually acts as an incredibly powerful status symbol. If you’re an economist with a Nobel prize you are automatically lifted onto a pedestal above everyone else. Your words carry greater influence and your impact on the world undoubtedly increases. This is particularly true in the field of economics because economists have such a tremendous impact on public policy which impacts all of us.
In my opinion, it doesn’t matter one bit if Alfred Nobel didn’t conceive the award. It doesn’t matter if certain people think it’s fake. The bottom line is that winning the Nobel prize in economics is a huge huge deal that lifts the winner from being important to being beyond important. Alfred Nobel might not have approved of the award, but the fact that his name is attached to the economics prize is a big deal. And its winners will continue to have a tremendous impact on all of our lives in the future. That reason alone makes the Nobel in Economics important and arguably more important and impactful than any other Nobel that is awarded.
Oh, and congratulations Mr. Tirole! Don’t let your new found influence go to waste….