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A far-flung economics network celebrates Berkeley Nobel winner David Card

June 7, 2022
By: Edward Lempinen
The 2021 winners of the Nobel Prize in economics met at UC Berkeley. From left: Guido W. Imbens, Stanford University; David Card, UC Berkeley; and Joshua D. Angrist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The three winners of 2021 Nobel Prize in economics, from left: Guido W. Imbens, Stanford University; David Card, UC Berkeley; and Joshua D. Angrist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The three met on June 3 and 4 as part of DaveFest, an event organized at UC Berkeley to honor Card’s contributions to the field of economics and to his students and younger colleagues. (Photo by Julian Meyn, UC Berkeley)

A remarkable international community of economists and economics students gathered in Berkeley June 3 and 4 to celebrate the achievements of Berkeley scholar David Card, who shared the 2021 Nobel Prize in economics.

Among those who joined in the celebration were Card’s two co-winners: Guido W. Imbens of Stanford University and Joshua D. Angrist of MIT.

This coming-together of Nobel laureates was a centerpiece of DaveFest, the two-day conference at Berkeley that convened scholars from top institutions in the U.S. and worldwide. The program focused, in part, on areas where Card has done pioneering economic analysis: the minimum wage, immigration and racial disparities in education.

Card, a labor economist, won the 2021 Nobel Prize for work that challenged orthodoxy and dramatically shifted understanding of inequality and the social and economic forces that affect low-wage workers. He is UC Berkeley’s sixth economist to win the Nobel Prize in economics and the campus’s 26th Nobel laureate overall.

Much of Card’s most profound work was based on “natural experiments” — looking not at theoretical constructs, but at how economic dynamics played out in the real world. Research by Angrist and Imbens showed that such natural experiments could yield precise conclusions about economic cause and effect.

DaveFest was sponsored by the Department of Economics, the Haas School of Business and the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE), all at Berkeley; and by Princeton University’s Industrial Relations Section. Berkeley’s College of Letters and Sciences and University Development and Alumni Relations also provided key support.

David Card (right), one of the 2021 Nobel laureates in economics, talks with young colleagues during a quieter moment during the two-day event honoring his contributions. While he has made remarkable contributions to the field of labor economics and research methodology, Card is known as well for teaching and mentoring young economists.
David Card (right), who shared the 2021 Nobel Prize in economics, talked with young colleagues during a quieter moment at the two-day Berkeley event honoring his work. While he has made remarkable contributions in labor economics and research methodology, Card is known as well for his commitment to teaching and mentoring young economists. (Photo by Julian Meyn, UC Berkeley)