Breaking boundaries: physicist bags 2022 economics Nobel


Drawing of Philip Dybvig
Once a physicist: Philip Dybvig shared this year’s Economics Nobel prize. (Courtesy: © Nobel Prize Outreach, Ill. Niklas Elmehed)

In the run up to this year’s Nobel Prize for Physics we published a series of blogs that looked at physicists who have won Nobel prizes in fields other than physics. With the announcement of the  Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2022 we can add Philip Dybvig to that list of illustrious laureates.

Dybvig shared this year’s economics Nobel prize with Ben Bernanke and Douglas Diamond “for research on banks and financial crises”.

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Born in 1955, Dybvig is Boatmen’s Bancshares Professor of Banking and Finance at the Olin School of Business at Washington University in Saint Louis, US. In 1983, Dybvig and Diamond wrote a seminal paper that explored the roles performed by banks in society and how the collapse of banks can be prevented.

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Financial crises

The work of Dybvig and Diamond on the function and failure of banks helped form the basis for modern bank regulations. It also proved valuable in helping economists to understand the 2007 financial crisis, which was driven in part by bank-like financial institutions that did not have to adhere to these regulations.

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But Dybvig did not start out as an economist. In 1976 he graduated from Indiana University with a double major in mathematics and physics. So as far as we are concerned here at Physics World, he remains a physicist.

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