| On an October 11:
Nobel Prize in Literature to V. S. Naipaul.
The Swedish Academy announces
that the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2001 will be awarded
awarded to the British writer, born in Trinidad, V.S. Naipaul
“for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny
in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories”.
V.S. Naipaul is a literary circumnavigator,
only ever really at home in himself, in his inimitable voice.
Singularly unaffected by literary fashion and models he has
wrought existing genres into a style of his own, in which the
customary distinctions between fiction and non-fiction are of
Naipaul’s literary domain has
extended far beyond the West Indian island of Trinidad, his
first subject, and now encompasses India, Africa, America from
south to north, the Islamic countries of Asia and, not least,
England. Naipaul is Conrad’s heir as the annalist of the destinies
of empires in the moral sense: what they do to human beings.
His authority as a narrator is grounded in his memory of what
others have forgotten, the history of the vanquished.
The farcical yarns in his first
work, The Mystic Masseur, and the short stories in Miguel
Street with their blend of Chekhov and calypso established
Naipaul as a humorist and a portrayer of street life.
He took a giant stride with A
House for Mr. Biswas, one of those singular novels that
seem to constitute their own complete universes, in this case
a miniature India on the periphery of the British Empire, the
scene of his father’s circumscribed existence. In allowing peripheral
figures their place in the momentousness of great literature,
Naipaul reverses normal perspectives and denies readers at the
centre their protective detachment. This principle was made
to serve in a series of novels in which, despite the increasingly
documentary tone, the characters did not therefore become less
Fictional narratives, autobiography
and documentaries have merged in Naipaul’s writing without it
always being possible to say which element dominates.
In his masterpiece The Enigma
of Arrival Naipaul visits the reality of England like an
anthropologist studying some hitherto unexplored native tribe
deep in the jungle. With apparently short-sighted and random
observations he creates an unrelenting image of the placid collapse
of the old colonial ruling culture and the demise of European
neighborhoods. Naipaul has drawn attention to the novel’s lack
of universality as a form, that it presupposes an inviolate
human world of the kind that has been shattered for conquered
He began to experience the inadequacy
of fiction while he was working on The Loss of El Dorado,
in which after extensive study of the archives he described
the appalling colonial history of Trinidad. He found that he
had to cling to the authenticity of the details and the voices
and abstain from mere fictionalisation while at the same time
continuing to render his material in the form of literature.
His travel books allow witnesses
to testify at every turn, not least in his powerful description
of the eastern regions of the Islamic world, Beyond Belief.
The author’s empathy finds expression in the acuity of his ear.
Naipaul is a modern philosophe,
carrying on the tradition that started originally with Lettres
persanes and Candide. In a vigilant style, which
has been deservedly admired, he transforms rage into precision
and allows events to speak with their own inherent irony. //
The Nobel Prize in Economics is awarded to James
J. Heckman, University of Chicago, and Daniel
L. McFadden, University of California.
The Bank of Sweden Prize in
Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, 2000 goes to
them because each has developed theory and methods that are
widely used in the statistical analysis of individual and household
behavior, within economics as well as other social sciences,
"to James Heckman for his development of theory and
methods for analyzing selective samples and to Daniel McFadden
for his development of theory and methods for analyzing discrete
Los estadounidenses James J. Heckman
L. McFadden ganan el premio Nobel de Economía por sus estudios
sobre microeconomía y estadística, basados en el comportamiento
individual y familiar de las personas.
Microeconometrics -- on the boundary
between economics and statistics -- is a methodology for studying
micro data, i.e., economic information about large groups of
individuals, households, or firms. Greater availability of micro
data and increasingly powerful computers have enabled empirical
studies of many new issues. For example, what determines whether
an individual decides to work and, if so, how many hours? How
do economic incentives affect choices of education, occupation,
and place of residence? What are the effects of different educational
programs on income and employment? James Heckman and Daniel
McFadden have resolved fundamental problems that arise in the
statistical analysis of micro data. The methods they have developed
have solid foundations in economic theory, but have evolved
in close interplay with applied research on important social
problems. They are now standard tools, not only among economists
but also among other social scientists.
Available micro data often entail
selective samples. Data on wages, for instance, cannot
be sampled randomly if only individuals with certain characteristics
-- unobservable to the researcher -- choose to work or engage
in education. If such selection is not taken into account, statistical
estimation of economic relationships yields biased results.
Heckman has developed statistical methods of handling selective
samples in an appropriate way. He has also proposed tools for
solving closely related problems with individual differences
unobserved by the researcher; such problems are common, e.g.
when evaluating social programs or estimating how the duration
of unemployment affects chances of getting a job. Heckman is
also a leader of applied research in these areas.
Micro data often reflect discrete
choice. For instance, data regarding individuals' occupation
or place of residence reflect choices they have made among a
limited number of alternatives. Prior to McFadden's contributions,
empirical studies of such choices lacked a foundation in economic
theory. Evolving from a new theory of discrete choice, the statistical
methods developed by McFadden have transformed empirical research.
His methods are readily applicable. For example, they prevail
in models of transports and are used to evaluate changes in
communication systems. Examples of McFadden's extensive applications
of his own methods include the design of the San Francisco BART
system, as well as investments in phone service and housing
for the elderly.
J. Heckman, 56, was born in Chicago, IL in 19 April
L. McFadden, 63, was born in Raleigh, NC on 29 July