The Nobel in economics goes to David Card, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens.

The three were honored for delving into unintended experiments, such as the impact of a minimum-wage increase across state lines.

Daily Business Briefing

Oct. 11, 2021Updated Oct. 11, 2021, 9:11 a.m. ETOct. 11, 2021, 9:11 a.m. ET

The three were honored for delving into unintended experiments, such as the impact of a minimum-wage increase across state lines.

K.K.R.’s co-chiefs, Henry Kravis and George Roberts, step down.Evergrande’s creditors consider their options as more payment deadlines loom.Inflation data, I.M.F. outlook and bank earnings: The week in business.The return of James Bond gives Hollywood a hopeful signal.At New York Comic Con, fans incorporate masks creatively.


Officials in Stockholm on Monday announced the winners of 2021 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences: David Card, Joshua D. Angrist and Guido W. Imbens.Credit…Claudio Bresciani/TT News Agency, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

David Card has made a career of studying unintended experiments to examine economic questions — like whether raising the minimum wage causes people to lose jobs.

Joshua D. Angrist and Guido W. Imbens have developed research tools that help economists to use real-life situations to test big theories, like how additional education affects earnings.

On Monday, their work earned them the 2021 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

All three winners are based in the United States. Mr. Card, who was born in Canada, works at the University of California, Berkeley. Mr. Angrist, born in the United States, is at M.I.T. and Mr. Imbens, born in the Netherlands, is at Stanford University.

“Uncovering causal relationships is a major challenge,” said Peter Fredriksson, chairman of the prize committee. “Sometimes, nature, or policy changes, provide situations that resemble randomized experiments. This year’s laureates have shown that such natural experiments help answer important questions for society.”

The recognition was bittersweet, many economists noted, because much of the research featured in the prize announcement was co-written by Alan B. Krueger, a Princeton University economist and former White House adviser who died in 2019. Nobel prizes are not typically awarded posthumously. Despite that note of sadness, the economics profession celebrated the news, crediting the winners for their work in changing the way that labor markets in particular are studied.

“They ushered in a new phase in labor economics that has now reached all fields of the profession,” Trevon Logan, an economics professor at Ohio State, wrote on Twitter shortly after the prize was announced.

Mr. Card’s work has challenged conventional wisdom in labor economics — including the idea that higher minimum wages led to lower employment. He was a co-author of influential studies on that topic with Mr. Kreuger, including one that used the border between New Jersey and Pennsylvania to test the effect of a minimum wage change. Comparing outcomes between the states, the research found that employment at fast food restaurants was not affected by an increase in New Jersey’s minimum wage.

Mr. Card has also researched the effect of an influx of immigrants on employment levels among local workers with low education levels — again finding the impact to be minimal — and the effect of school resource levels on student education, which was larger than expected.

Mr. Angrist has done work, also with Mr. Kreuger, trying to gauge how much benefit people derive from extra years of education. To figure it out, they took advantage of the fact that students born earlier in the year can legally leave school earlier than those born later in the year. Those born earlier did tend to get less education and also earned less later on. The effect of an additional year of education, they estimated, was a 9 percent increase in income.

That study helped to spur the additional work on research methods Mr. Angrist and Mr. Imbens later carried out. That contribution has reshaped the way researchers think about and analyze natural experiments, according to the Nobel committee.

The pair showed that it is possible to identify a clear effect from an intervention in people’s behavior — like a subsidy that might encourage people to ride bicycles to work — even if a researcher cannot control who takes part in the experiment, and even if the impact varies across individuals. They also came up with a transparent framework for such research that has increased trust in it.

“The challenge, for me, has always been trying to understand, when people do empirical work, what exactly the methodological challenges are,” Mr. Imbens said, speaking to the announcement’s news conference via telephone.

Mr. Imbens said he was asleep when he received the call from the prize committee — around 2 a.m. — and was “absolutely stunned” to hear the news. He noted that Mr. Angrist was the best man at his wedding.

Two American economists affiliated with Stanford University, Paul R. Milgrom and Robert B. Wilson, won the 2020 Nobel in economics for improvements to auction theory. Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo of M.I.T. and Michael Kremer of Harvard won in 2019 for their experiment-based research in development economics.

The award, formally called the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, has been given out since 1969.

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded jointly to David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian, who independently discovered key mechanisms of how people sense heat, cold, touch and their own bodily movements.

Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann and Giorgio Parisi were recognized with the Nobel Prize in Physics for work that “laid the foundation of our knowledge of the Earth’s climate and how humanity influences it.”

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to Benjamin List and David W.C. MacMillan for their development of a new tool to build molecules, work that has spurred advances in pharmaceutical research and allowed scientists to construct catalysts with considerably less impact on the environment.

Abdulrazak Gurnah was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for “his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.”

Two journalists thousands of miles apart, Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitri A. Muratov of Russia, were honored with the Nobel Peace Prize for their tireless efforts to hold the powerful to account.

Henry Kravis, a co-founder of K.K.R., at an event in New York in 2019.Credit…Krista Schlueter for The New York Times

Henry Kravis and George Roberts, the private equity titans who founded K.K.R. with Jerome Kohlberg Jr. in 1976, are handing over the keys. They defined the 1980s leverage buyout boom with the firm’s acquisition of RJR Nabisco.

Joe Bae and Scott Nuttall are taking over as co-chief executives, effective immediately, the firm announced on Monday. Mr. Kravis and Mr. Roberts will remain “actively involved” as executive co-chairmen of the board.

The private equity firm has about $430 billion in assets under management, with operations that span the globe. K.K.R.’s shares are up 65 percent so far this year.

The succession plan was set in motion in 2017, when K.K.R. named Mr. Bae and Mr. Nutall co-presidents and chief operation officers. Both joined the firm in 1996. Mr. Bae helped oversee its expansion in Asia and its private markets business, while Mr. Nutall guided the firm’s initial public offering in 2010 and its public markets business. They played a significant role in “shaping the firm, its culture, and our market leading businesses into what they are today,” Mr. Kravis and Mr. Roberts said in a statement.

George R. Roberts in 2015. One of the co-founders of K.K.R., he will step down as co-chief executive of the private equity giant.Credit…Toshifumi Kitamura–AFP, via Getty Images

Mr. Kravis and Mr. Roberts are also ceding voting control. Alongside the management moves, K.K.R. is simplifying its corporate governance and will eliminate preferred shares for Mr. Kravis and Mr. Roberts, moving to one-vote-per-share on all matters — including board elections — at the end of 2026. That is in contrast to rivals like Blackstone, where its founder, Steve Schwarzman, maintains significant control. Apollo said earlier this year that it would move to a one-share-one-vote structure after revelations about ties its founder, Leon Black, had to Jeffrey Epstein, which led Mr. Black to step down earlier than expected.

Other leadership transitions are afoot at buyout groups. Carlyle’s co-founders, David Rubenstein and William Conway, appointed Glenn Youngkin and Kewsong Lee as co-chief executives in 2017. (Mr. Youngkin resigned last year and is running for governor of Virginia.) Mr. Schwarzman is still at the helm of Blackstone, with an heir apparent, Jonathan Gray, serving as the firm’s chief operating officer. TPG has been reshuffling its ranks in advance of an expected I.P.O.

The construction site of an Evergrande development in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China.Credit…Alex Plavevski/EPA, via Shutterstock

Evergrande, the teetering Chinese real estate developer, has three more payments due Monday on its dollar bonds. It’s been about two weeks since the company, which has $300 billion in liabilities, missed a Sept. 23 bond payment, starting the clock on the 30-day grace period before it formally defaults.

Cracks are beginning to appear across China’s real estate industry, as the government weighs bailouts of over-indebted developers against a push to curb speculation. Developers have amassed more than $5 trillion in debt, and buyers are wary of high prices, denting sales and forcing sellers to cut prices. Evergrande isn’t the only developer struggling with its debts, including those owed to international creditors; collectively, Chinese real estate companies have more than $28 billion in dollar bond payments due in 2022.

Evergrande’s offshore creditors are beginning to make noise, amid fears that China will prioritize onshore creditors in any potential restructuring. Last week, Moelis and Kirkland & Ellis, the advisers representing a number of offshore bondholders, said they were concerned about a lack of information from China, including details about Evergrande’s potential sale of a stake in one of its divisions. (Trading in the company’s shares has been halted since Oct. 4.)

Creditors also questioned whether a deal announced by Evergrande last month to sell a $1.5 billion stake in a bank to help settle debts amounted to preferential treatment that kept offshore creditors out of the loop. Creditors are looking for recourse in Cayman law, which governs Evergrande’s offshore bonds. On Saturday, Evergrande said it had punished six executives who redeemed company investment products early, forcing them to return the funds.

Wall Street’s biggest banks, including JPMorgan Chase, will release quarterly financial reports starting on Wednesday.Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times


I.M.F. and World Bank meetings: Finance ministers and central bank governors are set to gather for International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings in Washington D.C. to discuss the global economic outlook. The event, which runs through Oct. 17, will include the release of the I.M.F.’s global growth forecast in its latest World Economic Outlook report on Tuesday.


Job openings: Data from the Labor Department will show whether job openings in the U.S. continued to rise in August. The number of open positions has climbed to record levels in recent months as businesses have struggled to hire workers.


Consumer Price Index: The Labor Department is set to publish its report on prices in September. In August, the Consumer Price Index dipped slightly from the month before.

G-20 meeting: Finance ministers from the Group of 20 nations are set to meet in Washington to discuss how to continue to sustain the economic recovery. Ministers and governors are expected to endorse an agreement for a 15 percent global minimum tax and other changes aimed at cracking down on tax havens that have drained countries of much-needed revenue.

Fed meeting minutes: The Federal Reserve will publish minutes from the September meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee. Investors will be looking for indications of policymakers’ thinking about when the central bank should begin winding down some of its efforts to support the economy.

Bank earnings: Wall Street’s biggest banks, including JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, will release quarterly financial reports starting on Wednesday. Analysts are forecasting strong profits growth and will be listening for executives’ outlook on the economy amid the deteriorating market sentiment. Morgan Stanley and Citigroup will release their earnings reports on Thursday.

Delta Air Lines earnings: The airline is expected to publish its financial performance report for the three months ending in September, a period during which a surge in coronavirus cases stifled momentum for the travel industry.


Retail sales: The Commerce Department will publish data on spending for the month of September. In August, retail sales rose slightly, highlighting the uneven pace of the economic recovery.

Daniel Craig, left, and Rami Malek, the stars of “No Time to Die,” made a surprise appearance on Thursday at a movie theater in Burbank, Calif.Credit…Philip Cheung for The New York Times

The latest James Bond spectacle, “No Time to Die,” gave Hollywood its third box office success in the span of a month.

But the pandemic-era box office is still extremely fragile, analysts say, and the only movies attracting sizable attention in cinemas are big-budget franchise films, Brooks Barnes reports in The New York Times. The audience for smaller dramas and comedies seems — at least for now — to be satisfied with home viewing, either buying films through video on demand or watching them on streaming services.

“Superhero, action and horror movies are performing well in theaters, particularly when they are offered exclusively and not simultaneously available to stream,” said David A. Gross, who runs Franchise Entertainment Research, a film consultancy.

“No Time to Die” gave Hollywood hope that the worst times of the pandemic are in the past. Billed as the 25th installment in the Bond franchise and with Daniel Craig in his fifth and final turn as 007, “No Time to Die” took in an estimated $56 million from 4,407 theaters in the United States and Canada, according to Comscore. In partial release overseas, the Bond film collected an additional $257 million, according to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and its overseas distribution partner, Universal Pictures International.

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Conventions are facing smaller crowds and stricter safety protocols, and the president of the company that produces New York Comic Con noted that “it’s going to look a little different this year.”

The mask mandate game some fans, eager to strut around dressed as favorite characters, pause. Most simply wore a medical mask, but a creative few found ways to use masks to complement their cosplay. SEE THE PHOTO ESSAY ->

Passengers line up at a Southwest Airlines ticket counter at Eppley Airfield in Omaha on Sunday. The airline cancelled over 1,800 flights over the weekend, and said weather conditions and air traffic control issues were to blame.Credit…David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Travelers flying Southwest Airlines over the weekend faced hundreds of canceled flights as well as frustrating delays, with the airline scrapping about a quarter of all its flights on Saturday and Sunday.

The airline canceled just over 800 flights on Saturday, or 24 percent of all its scheduled flights, according to FlightAware, a tracking service. By noon on Sunday, Southwest had already canceled over a thousand flights, or 28 percent of its schedule, with hundreds more delayed.

“We experienced weather challenges in our Florida airports at the beginning of the weekend, challenges that were compounded by unexpected air traffic control issues in the same region, triggering delays and prompting significant cancellations,” the airline said in a statement on Sunday. “We’ve continued diligent work throughout the weekend to reset our operation with a focus on getting aircraft and crews repositioned to take care of our customers.”

Southwest added that recovering from the disruption was more difficult than usual because it is operating fewer flights than before the pandemic, complicating efforts to reschedule passengers.

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