New IIR Report: Immigrant Nobel Laureates in Economics

by Dr. Sandip K. Sureka

As part of the Institute for Immigration Research's (IIR) efforts to highlight the contribution of immigrants to the United States, the IIR publishes an annual report on immigrant Nobel Laureates and their works. In this year's edition, Dr. Sandip K. Sureka and Kellie S. Wilkerson write about Nobel Laureates in Economics. Using our in-house dataset, we look at the number of immigrants in the different Nobel Prize categories, and find that economics is the prize category in which the highest fraction of Nobel Prizes went to immigrants to the United States.

Nativity of All the Nobel Laureates by Category (1901-2023)

Nativity of All the Nobel Laureates by Category (1901-2023)

Data source: Data compiled by the IIR based on information from the Nobel Foundation.

Nobel Laureates born outside of the United States contribute to social science research in the United States through their U.S. professional affiliation. U.S. native-born economists, along with immigrant economists, have established the United States and U.S. institutions as the global center for research in the discipline. In this year's report, we discuss some of the notable works of Nobel Laureate economists and their policy implications.

City of Birth of All Nobel Laureates in Economics (1969-2023)

City of Birth of All Nobel Laureates in Economics (1969-2023)

Data source: Data compiled by the IIR based on information from the Nobel Foundation.

Claudia Goldin won this year's Nobel Prize in Economics, which is significant for women social scientists for several reasons: Claudia Goldin is only the third woman to have won the prize and her research about women in the labor market was the primary motivation for the award. In line with this significance, we highlight recent trends in the gender gap in economics in this year's report. 

We also feature the biographies and scholarly journeys of selected Nobel Laureate economists. The biographies include all three women Nobel Laureates in economics: Elinor Ostrom, Esther Duflo (immigrant Nobel Laureate), and Claudia Goldin. We also outline the biographies of Amartya Sen (a non-U.S. laureate) and George A. Akerlof (a second-generation immigrant laureate). One common feature of all the Nobel Laureates whose biographies we feature is that they have collaborated across international borders and contributed to U.S.-academia, irrespective of their nativity status.

 Read the full 2023 report on Nobel Laureates in Economics and previous reports here.