The European Economic Association

Yrjö Jahnsson Award

In 1993 the Finnish Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation established a biennial award, called the Yrjö Jahnsson Award in Economics, for a European economist no older than 45 years old who has made a contribution in theoretical and applied research that is significant to economics in Europe. The European Economic Association (EEA) cooperates with the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation in the selection of the award winners. The first award was presented at the 1993 Helsinki Congress. The winner of the Yrjö Jahnsson Award in Economics receives €20 000 from the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation.

In 2010, the EEA and the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation decided to change the selection procedure. The selection committee, composed of five members, since 2010, proposes one (or two candidates) for the award to the EEA Executive Committee. The selection committee also informs the EEA Executive Committee of how the decision was reached, the motivation for the nominated candidates, as well as a list of any other candidates that were considered during the last stages of the process as potential winners of the award. The EEA Executive Committee and the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation then endorse the proposal of award winner(s). If for some reason the proposed winner is not endorsed, the EEA Executive Committee asks the selection committee to reconsider its proposal. The winner is no longer announced at the annual EEA congress (although he/she is presented with award here), but immediately after the endorsement. The announcement is posted on EEA and Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation websites. A further change was decided in 2019, when the EEA and the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation decided to extend the the age limit in certain circumstances, such as for maternity leave (12 months per child), long-term illness, or national mandatory military service.  

The 2019 Yrjö Jahnsson Award

The EEA is delighted to announce that 2019 Award Selection Committee has decided to jointly award ORIANA BANDIERA, STICERD and Department of Economics, LSE, and IMRAN RASUL, University College London and the Institute for Fiscal Studies, with this prize for 2019.

Oriana Bandiera and Imran Rasul are applied microeconomists. Their work on the role of social relationships in economics, advanced through pioneering field experiments in the workplace and social networks, has provided salient contributions to economics, especially to the fields of personnel economics and development.

The classic principal-agent model treats agents in isolation, or, alternatively, as individuals engaging in perpetual competition. Work in sociology and social psychology suggests instead that people will consider the effect of their actions on others when responding to incentives. The issue is whether classic models should be amended to account for such social pressures.

In a series of field experiments, Bandiera and Rasul, joint with Barankay, aimed at estimating the causal effect of social relationships on incentives. They achieved this goal by introducing clever exogenous variation in the incentive structure offered to the workers picking “soft fruit” in the UK. They used this setting to explore a number of issues that until then had been studied only theoretically or in laboratory settings, such as social preferences, social incentives, the role of connections, the effect of inequality, the role of incentives for managers, and team incentives.                                                                                   .                                                                                                                                                                                        

Bandiera and Rasul have also provided other novel empirical evidence on the role of social networks for technology adoption in a farming context, on the effectiveness of anti-poverty programs, and on the functioning of labor markets in low-income settings.

An important contribution of their work is that their experiments have become a role model for randomized control trials for incentive treatments and they have deeply influenced the applied microeconomics field. Their transformative work has inspired a generation of applied economists.

The EEA and the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation approved the Selection Committee’s decision.

The EEA is pleased to be rewarding such talented individuals and the Association warmly congratulates the winners.

Oriana and Imran will be presented with their Award during the annual EEA Congress to be held in Manchester, United Kingdom (August 2019)

2019 Yrjö Jahnsson Award Selection Committee – Orazio Attanasio, Armin Falk, Eliana La Ferrara, Kjetil Storesletten (Chair) and Hannu Vartiainen.


Please click here for a list of past recipients. 




Last update April 08, 2019
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