Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Research Institute of Industrial Economics

No 517: The Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel--1969 - 1998

Assar Lindbeck ()
Additional contact information
Assar Lindbeck: The Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Postal: P O Box 5501, SE-114 85 Stockholm, Sweden, and IIES, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: In conjunction with its tercentenary celebrations in 1968, Sveriges Riksbank (Bank of Sweden) instituted a new award, "The Central Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel" on the basis of an economic commitment by the bank in perpetuity. The award is given by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences according to the same principles as for the Nobel Prizes that have been awarded since 1901. The procedures for selecting the laureates are also the same. Each year the Academy receives some 250 nominations, usually covering a little more than one hundred nominees. (Unsolicited suggestions from persons who have not been asked to submit nominations are not considered.) The Economics Prize Selection Committee of the Academy (with five to eight members) commissions experts but usually by foreigners. The prize committee presents its award proposal to the Social Science Class of the Academy in the form of a report, with an extensive survey of the main candidates that are considered for a prize. The report motivates the proposal and includes all the solicited expert studies. Finally the entire Academy meets to take the final award decision, usually in October. Which criteria have guided the awards so far? And what have been the main problems when selecting the laureates? It is useful to start a discussion of these issues with a rough classification of the various types of economics prize awards given som far. It should be kept in mind, however, that all such classifications are rather arbitrary since the multidimensional nature of scientific contributions makes it difficult in avoid overlap.

Keywords: Nobel-prize; Economic thought; Methodology

JEL-codes: A10; B20; B40

28 pages, February 19, 1999

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