4 seen as front-runners for Nobel in economics

Four professors are leading contenders for the 2012 Nobel prize in economics, according to a prediction from Thomson Reuters.

The four are:

  • Robert J. Shiller, the Arthur M. Okun professor of economics at the Yale University Department of Economics and Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics. He also is professor of finance and fellow at the Yale School of Management's International Center for Finance, co-founder and chief economist of MacroMarkets, a financial technology company, and co-developer of the Standard & Poor's/Case Shiller Home Price indexes;
  • Stephen A. Ross, Franco Modigliani professor of financial economics and professor of finance at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology;
  • Anthony B. Atkinson, research professor, Department of Economics, Oxford University; and
  • Angus S. Deaton, Dwight D. Eisenhower professor of international affairs and professor of economics and international affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University.

Mr. Shiller, who predicted the housing bubble, was named to the list for his “pioneering contribution to financial market volatility and dynamics in asset prices; Mr. Ross for his arbitrage pricing theory and other fundamental contributions to finance; Mr. Atkinson for “studies of income inequality and contributions to welfare state and public-sector economics”; and Mr. Deaton for “empirical research on consumption, income and savings, poverty and health, and well-being,” according to a Thomson Reuters statement.

The prize, formally called the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, is awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The winner is scheduled to be announced Oct. 15.

Thomson Reuters has picked six individuals who won or shared four Nobel prizes in economics since the company began its annual predictions in 2002, David Pendlebury, Thomson Reuters citation analyst, who oversees the forecasting, said in an interview.

The four newly named contenders joined 34 other academics Thomson Reuters has named between 2002 and last year who have yet to win and are still top contenders for the prize, Mr. Pendlebury said.

The others include Eugene F. Fama, Robert R. McCormick distinguished service professor of finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business; Richard H. Thaler, Ralph and Dorothy Keller distinguished service professor of behavioral science and economics, also at Booth School of Business; and Kenneth R. French, Roth Family Distinguished Profess of Finance, Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H.

Mr. Fama also is director of research at Dimensional Fund Advisors, where Mr. French is head of investment policy, and Mr. Thaler also is a principal of Fuller & Thaler Asset Management.