2015 Nobel laureate Angus Deaton

Angus Deaton is the worthy and deserving winner of this year’s economics Nobel. The arc of his work, from theory to data to empirical application, has been consumption, measuring consumption, and consumption as an indicator of well-being, poverty, and inequality. His analyses also incorporate political economy as a factor influencing those relationships and incentives.

If you haven’t read his book The Great Escape, do so. It’s an accessible and optimistic account of the relationship between poverty and economic growth. Here’s an interview with Deaton from Caleb Brown at the Cato Daily Podcast in 2013 on the themes of the book. For a longer discussion based on the book, Russ Roberts’ EconTalk podcast with Deaton from November 2013 is well worth the time.

As always, Tyler’s post and Alex’s post at Marginal Revolution today have good synopses of Deaton’s work and its importance, and many good links to further reading.

In my mind, Deaton’s work sits with the demographic analyses and data visualization of Hans Rosling (if you haven’t seen his 200 countries in 200 years video, put down everything right now and watch it; his TED talk about the impact of the washing machine is guaranteed to bring tears to the eyes of at least this unsentimental economist). It also complements Joel Mokyr’s economic history of innovation and technological change as factors enabling economic growth.

Deaton’s unstinting attention to detail in improving the measurement of consumption has always stood out to me as a defining feature of his work. I recommend it to your attention, and congratulate him for this well-deserved award.

Advertisements