The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced on Monday that Scots American Prof. Angus Deaton of Princeton University was the winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Economics for his ground-breaking research on consumption, poverty and welfare.
Deaton is a native of Edinburgh, Scotland, but has worked at Princeton University in the U.S. for a number of years. Of note, Deaton is a dual both U.S. – UK citizen.
In its statement announcing the award, the academy noted Deaton’s seminal research involves issues of “immense importance for human welfare, not least in poor countries” and has “greatly influenced” both his peers in the field and global policymakers.
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The RSA pointed out that Deaton’s work focuses on three key questions: How do consumers distribute their spending among different goods; how much of society’s income is spent and how much is saved; and how do we best measure and analyze welfare and poverty?
“I was pretty sleepy…I was delighted [when the Academy called],” Deaton told the media in a phone interview. “Like many economists, I knew this was a possibility, and was delighted to hear” from Stockholm.
Statement from Nobel prize winner Angus Deaton
In the long-distance press conference after the announcement of the award, Angus Deaton described himself as “someone who’s concerned with the poor of the world and how people behave, and what gives them a good life.”
He also commented he was honored to have won a Nobel prize, and was pleased that the committee decided to put the public focus on research that concerns the poor people of the world. Deaton went further to comment that while he expects extreme poverty across the globe to gradually decrease, he doesn’t want to be “blindly optimistic.”
He pointed to “tremendous health problems among adults and children in India, where there has been a lot of progress.” He went on to note that more than half of the children on the Indian subcontinent are “still malnourished” and “for many people in the world, things are very bad indeed.”
More on 2015 Nobel prizes
French academic Jean Tirole won the 8 million Swedish kronor ($975,000) Nobel Prize in Economics in 2014 for his research on market power and regulation.
Keep in mind that the economics award is not a Nobel Prize in the literal sense, as the original awards were created by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel in 1895 when economics was still considered a philosophy rather than a science. The Swedish central bank decided to add the economics prize to the list of Nobel prizes in 1968 as a memorial to Alfred Nobel.
Of note, this year the Nobel prize in medicine went to a group of three scientists from Japan, the U.S. and China for their research involving drugs to fight malaria and various other tropical diseases. A team of researchers from Japan and Canada won the physics prize for discovering that tiny particles called neutrinos have measurable mass, and scientists from Sweden, the U.S. and Turkey were awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for their research into how cells repair damaged DNA.
The award of the economics prize to Angus Deaton marked the final Nobel prize for 2015.