But a recent Thomson Reuters analysis predicts five leading contenders for the top honour in economics this year: Philippe M. Aghion and Peter W. Howitt for their contributions to growth theory, William J. Baumol and Israel M. Kirzner for their study of entrepreneurship, and Mark S. Granovetter for his pioneering research in economic sociology.
The first four names are well known in economics while the fifth is not actually an economist. Granovetter is a sociologist but his research appears to be the most interesting among that of the five contenders listed by Reuters. The caveat here is that the Reuters list is merely indicative, based on a quantitative analysis of the number of citations of each scholar in the discipline. The Nobel committee is unlikely to be influenced by quantitative metrics alone though the Reuters analysis claims that most scholars it has identified have eventually ended up winning the Prize…
There are earlier precedents when the Nobel committee has chosen persons outside economics departments for the prize, although a sociologist has never won it till date. The political scientist Elinor Ostrom, who shared the Nobel in 2009 with Williamson, is the most recent example. Ostrom challenged conventional wisdom by showing that common property resources can be managed successfully by user associations.
Granovetter’s paper on the strength of weak ties is one of the most cited sociology articles. Even so, naming a sociologist as a winner of the prize for economics would be an interesting choice given the relationship between the two disciplines.