Angus Deaton wins 2015 Economics Nobel Prize

A very good choice in my opinion.  Though in some ways a pity it was not on a joint ticket with Tony Atkinson.

Here is link to his personal web page

Deaton has written extensively on consumer demand systems, taxation, health, welfare, poverty, well-being, econometric methodology, the list is very long.

There is a good discussion of his contributions at and

Note that Deaton is due to speak in Ireland soon, along with our own Cormac O Grada on the topic of “Modern Plagues: Lessons Learned from the Ebola Crisis”.

More details here

7 replies on “Angus Deaton wins 2015 Economics Nobel Prize”

There have been 40 Americans, native and naturalised, from 76 recipients of the Riksbank’s prize since 1969. Not all were economists including John Nash (‘A Beautiful Mind’) who died in a car accident last May.

The University of Chicago claims 28 recipients either were graduates or faculty.

In the past century the 2 economists who have had a significant impact on developed country governments have been Keynes and Friedman (the latter was more an inspiration for a reduced role for government than specific policy).

Others had an impact in particular areas and maybe like science following some technological innovation, research may gave validity to what was being already being applied.

The academy stresses Angus Deaton’s role in developing systems for tracking household income data in developing countries when at the World Bank and later. Wonder how much attention they would give to a development economist of consequence from outside an Ivy League type university or a maverick?

I wrote this on the prize:


“Wonder how much attention they would give to a development economist of consequence from outside an Ivy League type university or a maverick?”

Whatever about a maverick, it seems to me the reason why the prize in economics usually goes to an elite US school is that by the time someone gets to the status of being a candidate for the Nobel they will typically have moved to an elite university. So it is not that they are Nobel candidates because they are at an elite university, rather that they are hired by elite universities because they are Nobel candidates.

Check the winners of of the FIFA World Player of the Year award (or whatever its called now) – virtually all from the elite European clubs with Barcelona and Real Madrid heavily represented. If Shamrock Rovers were to unearth a candidate for FIFA World Player (if only!), you can bet it would not be long before he would be on his way overseas. Angus Deaton’s first Professorship was at the (relatively) humble University of Bristol.


You would wonder how much of a ‘networking effect’ and ‘endorsement effect’ there is in being associated with places like Chicago at the time that the awarding of a prize is being considered – particularly in a subject in which there is so much argument about what is useful. Maybe someone will win a prize for looking into it someday.

First time I’ve seen Bristol described like that so I checked one of the spurious listings, time for a merger with Bath perhaps…

@ David Madden, grumpy

In this age of globalisation players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi end up in the richest clubs — there is a simple metric: they score lots of goals against other high paid competition.

The impact of others can be more subjective and conventional wisdom can be hard to sail against — do as many people go with the flow in universities as elsewhere?

David may judge these issues on impact of research better than I can but scepticism can have its role too.

This is from a NYT report on the prize winners in 2004: [Edward C. Prescott, 63, and Finn E. Kydland, 60, for two papers they wrote between 1977 and 1982. Their findings contradicted Keynesian theory, which held that changes in demand, particularly consumer demand, played the greatest role in business cycles. The Prescott-Kydland papers “transformed academic research in economics” and also transformed policy making, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in its citation…The two men, and Mr. Prescott in particular, “got people to think more broadly about what influences the economy over time,” said Gary Stern, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.]

I try to use superlatives sparingly and “transformed policy making’ is a bold claim.

…and it was a time when consequential policy making could have done with a makeover — that year the folks at Jackson Hole were focused on the long-term: Global Demographic Change: Economic Impacts and Policy Challenges

Here’s blog post from a grumpy economist:

@ Otto

A strange silence on this site re recent budget, IFAC, views of rating agencies, mandarin interventions, the politics of it all….very strange…or perhaps not?

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