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Two American Professors Win Nobel for Studies on Effects of Economic Policy

Christopher Sims, 68, a professor at Princeton University, in New Jersey won the Nobel economics prize on Monday along with colleague Thomas Sargent

This is the VOA Special English Economics Report.

Two American professors will share the twenty eleven Nobel Prize in economics. Staffan Normark, Permanent Secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, announced the winners this week.

STAFFAN NORMARK: "The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in memory of Alfred Nobel, 2011, to Professor Thomas J. Sargent at New York University, New York, USA and Professor Christopher A. Sims at Princeton University, Princeton, USA."

Professors Sims and Sargent are both sixty-eight years old. They are being honored for work they did in the nineteen seventies and eighties. But their research has been and remains important to economic policy in many countries. This is especially true in a time when debt in Europe and other problems around the world have hurt economic growth.

The Nobel committee recognized the two professors for their work in showing how policy decisions can affect the health of economies. Both men have studied how actions, like raising interest rates or cutting taxes, affect things like economic growth and inflation.

Thomas Sargent, 68, a professor at Princeton University, pauses as his students clap in his honor during class
Thomas Sargent, 68, a professor at Princeton University, pauses as his students clap in his honor during class

Professor Sargent studied periods of high inflation in several European countries in the nineteen hundreds. His work suggested that it was important for governments and central banks to keep inflation low and interest rates stable.

Professor Sims suggested a new way of studying economic information over time. He has used a tool of economic analysis, called a vector auto-regression model. Such models provide ways to examine issues like whether growth in the money supply helps to predict inflation.

Christopher Sims told reporters by telephone why his work and the work of Thomas Sargent was so important today.

CHRISTOPHER SIMS: "I think the methods that I have used and Tom has developed are central to finding our way out of this mess. I think they point to a way to try to unravel why our serious problems develop and new research using these methods may help us lead us out of it."

Professors Sargent and Sims will share prize money worth about one point five million dollars. The prize is officially known as the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. It was first given in nineteen sixty-nine and is the only Nobel Prize not established by Alfred Nobel.

And that's the VOA Special English Economics Report. Mary Motta and Mil Arcega contributed to this report. Find more business news along with transcripts and MP3s at And follow us on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English. I'm Mario Ritter.


Contributing: Mary Motta and Mil Arcega.