...has been awarded to Finn Kydland (Carnegie-Mellon and UC Santa Barbara) and Edward Prescott (Arizona State and Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis) "for their contributions to dynamic macroeconomics: the time consistency of economic policy and the driving forces behind business cycles".
The award is made by the Bank of Sweden "in honor of Alfred Nobel," and was done so precisely with the intent of legitimizing economics by coopting the prestige of the actual Nobel Prizes, which are given in the real sciences (as well as in literature and peace). Interestingly, Jim Rossi (Law, Florida State) points out to me that a book publisher is being sued in India for falsely claiming that Amartya Sen is a Nobel Laureate:
"A man in West Bengal is challenging in court the right to call eminent economist Amartya Sen a Nobel Prize winner.
"The petitioner contends that Sen didn't win the Nobel Prize, but was conferred an award that has nothing to do with the Alfred Nobel award committee.
"The city sessions court has admitted Subodh Chandra Roy's petition for hearing.
"Roy said he moved the court to rectify a piece of 'misinformation' published in a Bengali translation of one of Sen's books on economics.
"The book introduced the writer as a Nobel Prize winner in economics.
"Roy told the court that the Nobel Prize was given out only in physics, chemistry, medicine and literature as well as for world peace.
"'There is no Nobel Prize for economics. So it is wrong to describe Sen as a Nobel Prize winner,' Roy told the court.
"The petitioner submitted to court documents obtained from the Nobel Prize committee in Stockholm in support of his claim.
"Roy said Sen won the 'Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel', which was not one of the regular Nobel Prizes."
It's ironic, of course, that Sen should be the target here, since he is one of the few economists whose important work was not based on a scientistic pretense (indeed, Sen has done a good deal to undermine that disciplinary pretense). But the general point stands, and is perhaps worth making the next time someone says (and I've heard it many times), "You know, economics is the only social science for which there is a Nobel Prize.": in fact, no social sciences are recognized with Nobel Prizes, but economics is the only social science which has felt the need to pretend that it is so recognized.