Nobel Committee wants “untarnished celebration” for laureate accused of sexual harassment

Philip Dybvig, 2022 Nobel Prize laureate for Economics, has been accused of sexually a seven former students at Washington University. The lawyer of the pioneer economist has denied the accusations as “professional rivalry”. Nobel’s Economic Sciences Prize Committee chair said that until conclusion by the university into sexual assault probe, Philip Dybvig is owed “an untarnished celebration” for his achievement during scheduled Nobel Prize ceremony in Norway. 

Philip Dybvig shared this year’s Nobel Prize in economics for research into bank failures. 

He has reportedly been questioned in the past several weeks by the Title IX office at Washington University in St. Louis, his lawyer Andrew Miltenberg was quoted as saying by Associated Press.

Miltenberg said the allegations are “factually inaccurate”. 

Bloomberg reported that it has reviewed emails that show that the Title IX office of Washington University, which handles campus sexual harassment complaints, has reached out to at least three former students since October to interview them about claims. They are among seven former students who have alleged that Dybvig sexually harassed them.

Dybvig, fellow US economist Douglas W Diamond and former Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke won the Nobel Prize in economics in October for research into bank failures. This work was built on the findings from the Great Depression and helped shape the US’ response to the 2007-2008 financial crisis. 

The findings in the early 1980s laid the foundations for regulating financial markets, the Nobel panel had found.

Nobel Committee takes note

Tore Ellingsen, chair of the Nobel’s Economic Sciences Prize Committee, told Bloomberg that the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has contacted the university to make sure they had a fair process to handle the accusations.

“As long as the university has not determined that Dybvig has done something wrong, I think we owe him an untarnished celebration of his achievement,” Ellingsen was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.

Miltenberg, Dybvig’s lawyer said he was suspicious of the timing of the allegations, adding that they surfaced after the award was announced but before the scheduled award ceremony.

“We believe that this is a situation of professional rivalry.”

(With inputs from agencie)

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