Nobel Economics Prize wraps up awards season

File photo of Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, who won the prize last year for a trade analysis theory that determines the effects of free trade and globalisation, as well as the driving forces behind worldwide urbanisation (AFP photo)

STOCKHOLM (AFP) – The 2009 Nobel season wraps up Monday with the announcement of the winner of the Nobel Economics Prize, expected to attract special attention in the wake of the global economic crisis.

The Swedish Academy of Sciences that attributes the prize releases no list of nominees, so pundits are left to speculate wildly up until the announcement at 1:00 pm (1100 GMT).

The Economics Prize is the only one of the six Nobel prizes not created in Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel's 1896 will -- it was created much later to celebrate the 1968 tricentary of the Swedish central bank and was first awarded in 1969.

Since then, men have swept the Economics Prize, with no woman clinching the 10-million-kronor (1.42-million-dollar, 980,000-euro) honour which can be shared by up to three winners.

Americans also dominate the list of economics laureates, with 42 of the 62 prizewinners since 1969 holding US citizenship.

Last year, the coveted award went to US economist, New York Times columnist and fierce George W. Bush critic Paul Krugman for a trade analysis theory that determines the effects of free trade and globalisation, as well as the driving forces behind worldwide urbanisation.

At online betting site Ladbrokes, Eugene Fama of the US, often dubbed the "father of efficient market hypothesis", is -- as last year -- tipped as the most likely winner on Monday, with 2-to-1 odds.

He could possibly share the prize with Kenneth French, a professor at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

Together, the duo questioned the traditional way of measuring market returns and developed an alternative method called the "Fama-French three factor model."

Other Americans mentioned in the media as possible laureates are Paul Romer, Matthew Rabin and William Nordhaus.

Swedish paper of reference Dagens Nyheter speculated however that the winner would most likely be Austria's Ernst Fehr, a behavioural economist from the University of Zurich who has specialised in the importance of the social group, cooperation and fairness in economics.

Others rumoured to be in the running are Bengt Holmstroem of Finland, Frenchman Jean Tirole, who among other things specialises in game theory and the psychology of economic decisions, and Indian economist Jagdish Bhagwati, a professor at Columbia University in New York and the founder of the Journal of International Economics.

For the five Nobel prizes awarded last week -- for medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and peace -- nine of the 11 laureates were US citizens, including US President Barack Obama who sensationally won the prestigious Peace Prize.

The formal prize ceremonies will be held in Stockholm and Oslo on December 10.

Source: AFP

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