The Nobel Prize, the single ne plus ultra awards in economics, has been awarded for half a century, yet the preconditions for receiving the highest consecration of achievement are understudied. While the consideration of a few single cases, such as the life and work of Herbert Simon or John Nash, might suggest that the most successful scholars in economics are a rather variegated collection of individuals, a prosopographical study of 81 Laureates reveals institutionalized pathways to the prize: The academic careers of Laureates nearly always lead to professorships at the top five departments of the discipline. Visiting professorships at the “big five” are another common characteristic. Similarly, publications of Laureates concentrate in the top five journals. The academic profile of Laureates in economics mirrors the unitary macrostructure of the discipline that is dominated by an elite subset of American universities rather than by departments across the world.