After Esther Duflo & Abhijit Banerjee got an early morning phone call that they have been awarded the ‘The Sveriges Riksbank Prize’ in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel – informally known as ‘The Nobel Memorial Prize’ – along with Michael Kremer, he had gone back to sleep. It was yet another morning for him, but not for Esther.
When asked how this iconic win changes his life, Nobel prize winner Abhijit said: “More opportunities will come to us and new doors will open. But nothing changes for me that way. I like my life.”
On the contrary, wife Esther Duflo told the BBC, “We will put it [the money] to good use and make the best of it in our work. But this is way beyond the money. The influence that this prize will have will give us a megaphone. We will really try to make good use of that megaphone to amplify the work of everyone who works with us.”
From their interactions with the media after the Nobel Prize win, we have deduced that the Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo marriage is an interesting one. He is the chilled-out spouse and she is the go-getter, although this takes nothing away from their knowledge or the work they have done together.
Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee seem to be two very different people whose marriage is successful both personally and professionally.
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5 Facts About Abhijit Banerjee And Esther Duflo Marriage
Their love for economics binds them but they are different in many ways and that’s what makes the Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee love story amazing. Although Esther loves Indian food, she grew up on pasta, something Abhijit is adept at cooking now. What makes this amazing couple tick? We shall tell you.
1. She climbs mountains, he plays tennis
Although Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee call themselves nerds and are voracious readers with a number of books and papers to their credit, they both are outdoors people.
She loves climbing mountains when she is not doing experiments in her economics lab. “You have to be deliberate and patient, and confident you can make it. Otherwise, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy: if you think a climb is too hard it will become too hard,” is what she says about rock climbing.
As his tall, lithe frame gives away, Nobel Prize winner Abhijit Banerjee is an ace tennis player and enjoys a game at the court immensely.
Both aren’t too fond of the idea of holidaying by the sea, and Esther says if they ever went, she would end up taking books on economics to read on the beach. Since they are a couple who works together, they would rather mix work and pleasure, and travel to India.
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2. Travel means visiting villages of India and Africa
The Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo marriage works well because they both take interest in similar kind of economical work and their fields of expertise match. Alleviation of poverty is their area of interest at work and that has also fetched them the Nobel Prize. They have experimented with aspects of education and social life in rural pockets in countries like India and Africa.
Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee travel to these countries often to see if their experiments are working out. They are both at their happiest when traveling for work and making a real impact around the world.
3. She believes she is not funny, but he is
Esther Duflo could start a speech saying, “’I’m short. I’m French. I have a pretty strong French accent.” If you ask her if she has a sense of humor she would say, “Probably not.” For Duflo, Nobel Prize was won for her work skills and economical acumen, not her sense of humor. But anyone who has interacted with her would vouch for her subtle sense of immensely intelligent humor.
Neither does Banerjee wear his sense of humor on his sleeves but when he starts a speech saying, “This is like walking into the film sets…” then you know he has it in oodles. This low-key sense of humor in both of them is what makes a great Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee love story.
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4. He’s the official cook but she tosses up the occasional delicacies
Apparently, Nobel Prize winner Abhijit Banerjee has hundreds of recipes at his fingertips, including some mouthwatering Bengali ones too, picked up from his mother. He does the daily cooking at home while she is the hands-on mom to their two kids, aged 7 and 9.
Esther, on the other hand, is more of a hobbyist cook. But, for the Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo marriage to work, she obviously had to eventually fall in love with his homeland cuisine.
Although Esther is a foodie who dotes on her hubby’s culinary skills, she is adept at the kitchen too, provided she can leaf through a cookbook and keep it on the kitchen table while cooking. She is in love with the Bengali delicacy Hilsa fish and has mastered the technique of deboning it.
5. Their differences are their strength
These Nobel Prize winners come from starkly different backgrounds. She is French and he is Indian. The Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee love story also portrays an age-gap where Esther is 46, making her one of the youngest Nobel Laureates, and Abhijit is 58.
She did her Ph.D. under him and that’s when Cupid struck. She joined him in his work after building up her own credentials. Both Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee have CVs that run into pages and pages.
There was always a buzz in economic circles that her work will get Duflo Nobel Prize one day, but the Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo marriage made their possibilities stronger, and they achieved their dream together, in spite of their huge age difference.
At home though, the parents are not allowed to talk economics by the kids. They can only whisper a bit in the kitchen if some urgent thing comes up.
They used to say that the Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo marriage is like anybody else’s. But now probably it isn’t. You won’t often find two Nobel Laureates staying under the same roof in many homes. Would you?
1. Are Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee the first married couple to win the Nobel Prize?
Well, no, they aren’t actually. They are the sixth couple to win the Nobel Prize. The last time a couple won the Nobel was in 2014 and they were May-Britt Moser and Edvard I. Moser. The first couple to win the Nobel would be Marie Curie and husband Pierre Curie back in 1903.
2. When did Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee get married?
The formal Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo marriage took place in 2015, although they were living together much before that and had their first child in 2012. At present, they have two children, Milan aged 7, and Noemie aged 9.
3. How did Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee come across each other?
Abhijit Banerjee was a joint supervisor of Esther Duflo’s Ph.D. in Economics at MIT back in 1999. It was during this time the two became close and the years that followed paved the way for the interesting Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee love story, including their love for both economics and each other.