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Angus Deaton

Nobel in Economics Given to Angus Deaton For Studies of Consumption, Poverty and Welfare

The U.S.-based economist Angus Deaton on Monday won the 2015 Nobel Prize in economics for his analysis of consumption, poverty and welfare.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences recognized the joint U.S. and British citizen for work addressing questions including how consumers distribute their spending among different goods, how much people spend and how much they save and how to measure poverty and welfare.

“By linking detailed individual choices and aggregate outcomes, his research has helped transform the fields of microeconomics, macroeconomics, and development economics,” the academy said.

Mr. Deaton, 69 years old, who is based at Princeton University in the U.S. will receive a financial reward of around $1 million. Last year’s recipient was the French economist Jean Tirole.

Although his chosen profession was famously labelled “the dismal science” by the Victorian historian Thomas Carlyle, Mr. Deaton provided an upbeat assessment of human progress over the last 250 years in his 2013 book, “The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality.”

“Life is better now than at almost any time in history,” he wrote. “More people are richer and fewer people live in dire poverty. Lives are longer and parents no longer routinely watch a quarter of their children die.”

Across its 370 pages, Mr. Deaton sought to explain why the world is a better place than it used to be, with substantial increases in wealth, health and longevity, but also why there are vast inequalities between and within nations.

He concluded that international aid had little to do with that progress, and suggested that free trade and new incentives for drug companies would make a larger contribution in the future.

His attack on international aid efforts was itself criticized by Bill Gates.