Nobel in Economics Goes to Scholar in U.S. ; Professor at Princeton Is Honored for Studies on Individual Consumption

By Appelbaum, Binyamin | International New York Times, October 13, 2015 | Go to article overview

Nobel in Economics Goes to Scholar in U.S. ; Professor at Princeton Is Honored for Studies on Individual Consumption


Appelbaum, Binyamin, International New York Times


He is best known for his insight that economic averages such as measures of national income could be misleading, because they concealed important variations.

Prof. Angus Deaton, a British economist, was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science on Monday for improving the accuracy of basic economic gauges, including measures of income, poverty and consumption.

Professor Deaton, 69, of Princeton University, is best known for his insight that economic averages such as measures of national income could be misleading, because they concealed important variations among individuals.

"To design economic policy that promotes welfare and reduces poverty, we must first understand individual consumption choices," the committee that awarded the prize said in a statement. "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."

Professor Deaton was born in Scotland, and he is a British and American citizen. Speaking by phone at the news conference held to announce the prize on Monday, Professor Deaton said the message of his work was mostly optimistic.

"My general message is, my measurements tend to show that things are getting better, but there is a lot of work still to be done," he said.

Professor Deaton said he was "pretty sleepy" when he got the call telling him that he had won.

"I was surprised and delighted," he said. "It was wonderful to hear the voices of my friends on the committee."

Professor Deaton's name has long appeared on lists of likely candidates for the economics prize. He was an early contributor to one of the defining trends in modern economics: the emphasis on building models of broad economic trends from the ground up, using data about individual behavior rather than relying on averages.

Professor Deaton then used this carefully constructed data to address large questions about wealth, health and well-being. …

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