The Nobel Prize in Economics for 2015 is about to be announced.
Just ahead of the announcement, the Nobel Prize website revealed by accident that Princeton University microeconomist Angus Deaton had won the award.
He’s been given the prize for his work on “consumption, poverty and welfare.”
To design economic policy that promotes welfare and reduces poverty, we must first understand individual consumption choices. 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 prize is given to an economist who has made a substantial contribution towards the subject, with an award of 10 million Swedish krona ($US1.22 million, £797,330).
Unlike those in other sciences and areas, the economics award is a collaboration between the Sveriges Riksbank (Sweden’s central bank) and the Nobel Foundation.
There are a number of economists whose names are often mentioned in the context of the prize. This is just a handful of the names, and is by no means exhaustive:
- Richard Blundell, University College London — for his work on the impact of consumer behaviour.
- Robert Barro, Harvard University — for the development of Ricardian equivalence.
- William Nordhaus, Yale University — Nordhaus is a pioneering environmental economist.
- Angus Deaton, Princeton — for work on consumer demand and consumption in microeconomics.
- William Baumol, New York University and Princeton — Baumol is a towering figure in health economics, and his explanation of productivity stagnation has become known as “Baumol’s cost disease.”
- Michael Woodford, Columbia University — the author of some of the most widely-read textbooks on monetary economics, and a major contributor to theories behind inflation targeting, used by many central banks around the world.
- Nobuhiro Kiyotaki, Princeton — for work on economic shocks and credit cycles.
The prize has previously gone to household names like Milton Friedman, Paul Krugman and Freidrich von Hayek. Political scientists whose work has influenced economics as a discipline have also been honoured in the past.
Last year it went to French economist Jean Tirole for his analysis of market power and regulation.