Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences awarded to Guido Imbens

11 October 2021

Guido Imbens, a foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), is one of the three winners of this year's Nobel Prize in Economics. The Committee for the Prize made the announcement in Stockholm on 11 October 2021.

Imbens is one of the most authoritative econometrists in the world. He was born in Geldrop, the NetherIands. After training as an econometrist at Erasmus University Rotterdam, he moved to the United States in the 1980s, where he is now Applied Econometrics Professor and Professor of Economics at Stanford University.

Imbens developed methods that produce an impartial measure of the impact of a policy on the economy. He uses institutional changes in systems, for example a change in the minimum age for school-leavers, as a type of ‘natural experiment’. By their very nature, such changes require econometricians to think carefully about their implementation and impact on people's lives. Imbens has done pioneering work in this area.

Imbens’s own work is often methodological in nature, but he is also known for building bridges to applied research.  For example, he has written numerous overviews of his discipline and takes the time to help young researchers with their empirical work.  His methods are now widely recognised and emulated in econometrics. In recent years, Imbens has focused on such topics as artificial intelligence and machine learning, in cooperation with researchers at Facebook and Amazon.

Imbens is regarded as an exemplary representative of Dutch econometrics.  The Netherlands is the only country in the world to offer academic programmes in this field. Econometrics is clearly embedded in the Dutch economy, which serves as a basis for quantitative and statistical work.  Jan Tinbergen, who in 1969 was the first Dutch economist to win the Nobel Prize in Economics, is considered the founding father of econometrics.  With his Prize, Imbens is also following in the footsteps of Tjalling Koopmans, another mathematical economist of Dutch origin who won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1975.

Guido W. Imbens - winnaar Nobelprijs voor Economie 2021

Image courtesy: Ill. Niklas Elmehed © Nobel Prize Outreach