Age: 58 Years
Wife: Esther Duflo
Some Lesser Known Facts About Abhijit Banerjee
- Abhijit Banerjee is a prominent Indian American economist who won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics.
- He was born into a family of Economists to Dipak Banerjee and Nirmala Banerjee. Professor Dipak Banerjee headed the Department of Economics at Presidency College in Calcutta; while Nirmala Banerjee was a professor of economics at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences in Calcutta.
- Abhijit spent his childhood at a house on Mahanirban Road in Kolkata playing with poor kids from a slum near his home.
- His family shares a close bond with Nobel laureate Amartya Sen who has mentored Abhijit since he was two years old.
- After completing his schooling from Calcutta’s South Point School, he attended Calcutta’s Presidency College, where he pursued his B.S. degree in economics.
- Before attending Presidency College, he got himself enrolled at the reputable Indian Statistical Institute (ISI); as he loved Mathematics but a week into the curriculum, he quit the institute and took up economics at Presidency College.
- After graduating from Presidency College, he got himself enrolled at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, where he did his M.A. in economics.
- Later, Mr. Banerjee went on to obtain a Ph.D. in economics at Harvard.
- After his Ph.D., he taught at many prestigious institutions including Harvard University and Princeton University. Thereafter, he became the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
- While teaching at MIT, he got married to Dr. Arundhati Tuli Banerjee, who was a lecturer of literature at MIT; the couple went on to have a son together named Kabir. Abhijit and Arundhati grew up together in Kolkata. However, their marriage couldn’t last long, and they divorced.
- His son, Kabir attended CRLS in 2007, Buxton School in 2009, MIT in 2014, and UCL for educational studies; however, in a tragic incident, he died around March 2016. On 28 March 2016, a memorial service was held in Kabir’s honor at MIT Chapel.
- In 2015, Abhijit Banerjee got married to one of his doctoral students and his co-researcher, Esther Duflo. He was a joint supervisor of Esther’s Ph.D. in economics at MIT in 1999. Abhijit was still married to his first wife, Arundhati Tuli Banerjee when he had a child with Esther.
- Abhijit Banerjee’s work is mainly focused on development economics, and he is best known for proposing field experiments as an important methodology to discover causal relationships in economics.
- In 2013, the then United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed Mr. Banerjee to a panel of experts tasked with updating the Millennium Development Goals.
- On 14 October 2019, Abhijit Banerjee was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics, together with his wife Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer (an American economist), for their work alleviating global poverty.
- After his Nobel win, his mother revealed many facest of his life, like he is a brilliant student who never ranked first in school, a bits-and-pieces sportsman, and an ace cook. She said that she got the news about Abhijit’s Nobel win through her younger son, Aniruddha, who lives in Gurugram. She lives in a three-BHK apartment on Ballygunge Circular Road in Kolkata.
- Abhijit is very fond of classical music and spends hours listening to his favourite genre of music.
- He is also a sports enthusiast and loves to play Cricket and Table Tennis. He is a member of the Tollygunge Club in Kolkata, where he visits whenever in Kolkata, mostly to play Table Tennis.
- According to his mother, Nirmala, Abhijit is an ace cook and has picked up the skills since he was very young. He is an expert in Marathi and Bengali dishes and often cooks for his mother and his friends.
- Abhijit’s friends describe him as the one who takes centre stage among their gang of 10 school friends. During their school days, they would often hang out at the Dhakuria Lake in Kolkata; their favourite hang out spot.
- Nirmala Sitharaman and Abhijit Banerjee are college-time friends; she was doing her M.Phil in JNU when Banerjee completed his MA.
- After his name was linked with the NYAY scheme of the Congress party, Abhijit Banerjee denied his involvement in designing the guaranteed minimum income scheme, NYAY, promised by the Congress in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He said,
My role in all of that was not to design the scheme but provide the information that you could use to make choices.”
- On 11 December 2019, he donned Indian attire to receive the Nobel Prize.
- Here’s an interesting video about Abhijit Banerjee’s video: