This year’s Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel was awarded to Prof. Angus Deaton “for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare”.
Angus Deaton from Princeton University said he was delighted to have won the prize.
The 69-year-old described himself as “someone who’s concerned with the poor of the world and how people behave, and what gives them a good life”.
His research focuses on health, wellbeing, and economic development.
Torsten Persson, secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences award committee, said that Prof. Angus Deaton’s work has had “enormous influence”, particularly in India where the government had reshaped its measurement of poverty.
It had also been very influential in the academic community by reshaping various branches of economics, he said.
While Angus Deaton expected extreme poverty to continue decreasing, he did not want to be “blindly optimistic” because “tremendous health problems among adults and children in India” still existed.
Prof. Angus Deaton said that half of Indian children were still malnourished: “For many people in the world, things are very bad indeed.”
The academy said that individuals’ consumption choices must be understood before economic policy aimed at reducing poverty could be formulated.
“More than anyone else, Angus Deaton has enhanced this understanding. By linking detailed individual choices and aggregate outcomes, his research has helped transform the fields of microeconomics, macroeconomics, and development economics.”
The work for which Angus Deaton has been honored revolved around three questions: How do consumers distribute their spending among different goods? How much of society’s income is spent and how much is saved? How do we best measure and analyze welfare and poverty?
“His research has uncovered important pitfalls when comparing the extent of poverty across time and place,” the committee said.
The British academic, who had been in the running for the prize several times in past years, was previously at Cambridge and Bristol universities.
The award includes prize money of 8 million Swedish kronor ($950,000).
The economics award was not created by Alfred Nobel in 1895, but was added by Sweden’s central bank in 1968 as a memorial to the Swedish industrialist.
The Nobel prizes will be given to winners on December 10 at ceremonies in Stockholm and Oslo.