Nobel memorial prize in economics to win American favourites

Since 1999, the annual Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences has found just one non-American laureate, and even he was a Norwegian who did most of his work in the United States.

Ahead of Monday's announcement of the 2005 prize, Nobel watchers, pundits and others aren't surprised if such American dominance continues. That's no surprise, with even the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences claiming that because of the money spent for research on economics and trends in the United States, it's only fitting that the research and ideas come from there.

The prize is also one of the most difficult to forecast.

Paul Romer of Stanford University, who won the 2002 Horst Claus Recktenwald Prize in Economics, has been mentioned for his efforts in developing the New Growth Theory, which has provided new foundations for businesses and governments trying to create wealth. Another name has been that of Thomas J. Sargent of New York University, a leader of the rational expectations theory, which is used to determine future events by economic acts.

Also among those being touted for this year's prize is Jagdish Bhagwati, a noted proponent of free trade and critic of opponents of globalization. The Indian-born Columbia economics professor was an external adviser to the World Trade Organization and served as a special policy adviser on globalization to the United Nations.

The economics prize, worth 10 million kronor (Ђ1 million; US$1.3 million), is the only award not established in the will of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite. The medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and peace prizes were first awarded in 1901, while the economics prize was set up separately by the Swedish central bank in 1968.

This year's Nobel Prize announcements began October, 3 with the prize in physiology or medicine going to Australians Barry J. Marshall and Robin Warren for proving that bacteria and not stress was the main cause of painful ulcers of the stomach and intestine.

So far, the Swedish Academy, which awards the literature prize, has not set a date for its announcement.

The Nobel prizes are presented December, 10, the anniversary of the death of their founder. The peace prize is awarded in Oslo, and the other Nobel prizes are presented in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, AP reports.


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