2019 Yrjö Jahnsson Award

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

CEPR is pleased to congratulate Oriana and Imran on this highly prestigious award.

  Oriana Bandiera, who is director of CEPR's Development Economics Programme Area, is Sir Anthony Atkinson Professor of Economics & Director of STICERD, LSE. She is also director of the research programme in State Capabilities within the International Growth Centre (IGC)  
  Imran Rasul is CEPR Research Fellow in both the Development Economics and the Public Economics programme areas.  He is Professor of Economics at University College London, co-director of the Centre for the Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, and research co-director of the Entrepreneurship Research Group at the International Growth Centre.

In announcing the award, the EEA said:

"Oriana Bandiera and Imran Rasul are applied microeconomists. Their work on the role of social relationships in economics, advanced through pioneering field experiments in the workplace and social networks, has provided salient contributions to economics, especially to the fields of personnel economics and development.

The classic principal-agent model treats agents in isolation, or, alternatively, as individuals engaging in perpetual competition. Work in sociology and social psychology suggests instead that people will consider the effect of their actions on others when responding to incentives. The issue is whether classic models should be amended to account for such social pressures.

In a series of field experiments, Bandiera and Rasul, joint with Barankay, aimed at estimating the causal effect of social relationships on incentives. They achieved this goal by introducing clever exogenous variation in the incentive structure offered to the workers picking “soft fruit” in the UK. They used this setting to explore a number of issues that until then had been studied only theoretically or in laboratory settings, such as social preferences, social incentives, the role of connections, the effect of inequality, the role of incentives for managers, and team incentives.

Bandiera and Rasul have also provided other novel empirical evidence on the role of social networks for technology adoption in a farming context, on the effectiveness of anti-poverty programs, and on the functioning of labor markets in low-income settings.

An important contribution of their work is that their experiments have become a role model for randomized control trials for incentive treatments and they have deeply influenced the applied microeconomics field. Their transformative work has inspired a generation of applied economists."

Oriana and Imran will be presented with their Award during the annual EEA Congress to be held in Manchester, United Kingdom in August 2019.  Find out more about the award and the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation here.