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Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images

Three U.S.-based researchers were awarded the Nobel Prize in economics for using natural experiments to study the effects of economic policy and other societal questions.

Why it matters: The Nobel committee said David Card, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens have "completely reshaped empirical work in the economic sciences," per AP.

Driving the news: Card, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, received half the award. The other half was shared by Angrist, an MIT professor, and Imbens, a Stanford professor.

  • The prize in part honored Card's research on the labor market with Alan Krueger, a chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under former President Obama who died in 2019.

The big picture: Natural experiments use real-life situations to study the economic impacts of policy decisions.

  • In one influential paper, Card and Krueger studied fast food restaurants along the border of New Jersey and Pennsylvania and found that a recent minimum wage hike in one state didn't affect employment.
  • Card also studied the economics of immigration and challenged the belief that migrants depress the wages of blue-collar workers.
  • Angrist and Imbens were honored for their work demonstrating "how precise conclusions about cause and effect can be drawn from natural experiments."

What they're saying: “Card’s studies of core questions for society and Angrist and Imbens’ methodological contributions have shown that natural experiments are a rich source of knowledge. Their research has substantially improved our ability to answer key causal questions, which has been of great benefit to society,” says Peter Fredriksson, chair of the Economic Sciences Prize Committee.

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Oct 14, 2021 - Economy & Business

How the minimum wage lost relevance

Data: BLS via RSM US; Chart: Axios Visuals 

The federal minimum wage is now just 28% of average hourly earnings. That's just half its level in 1968, when the ratio was 54%.

Why it matters: The federal minimum is so low — well below the living wage in all states — that it has at this point lost most of its power as an anchoring mechanism.

Democrats fail to change Senate rules to pass voting rights bill

Senate Majority Leader during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrats failed Wednesday night to change Senate filibuster rules to pass the voting rights bill, with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) voting with Republicans.

The big picture: The failed effort came after Senate Republicans blocked the voting rights measure from coming to a final vote earlier Wednesday.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court rejects Trump's attempt to shield documents from Jan. 6 committee

Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The Supreme Court rejected on Wednesday night a bid by former President Trump to block the release of documents and records from his administration to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

Why it matters: Trump asked the Supreme Court to step in and block the release of the documents last month after a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously denied his attempt to prevent the committee from obtaining the materials.