‘Inequality’ is now the flavor of the season among economists. First, Thomas Piketty’s chef-d’oeuvre ‘Capitalism in the twenty-first century’ took the economic world by storm. The major theme in this book was the finding that return on capital exceeds the overall economic growth rate and therefore, unless remedial measures are taken, inequality between the owners of capital and others will keep escalating. Then came another best-seller unassumingly titled ‘Inequality’ by Sir Anthony Barnes Atkinson who has developed a highly rated but complex index of inequality which goes by the name ‘Atkinson Inequality Index’. And now, the 2015 Nobel prize in Economics has been awarded exclusively to Prof. Angus Deaton (69), a Scottish-born economist with American and English dual citizenship, who is now the Professor of Economics and International Affairs at the Princeton University.
Prof. Deaton is known for his book ‘The Great Escape: Health, Wealth and the origins of Inequality’. Empirical evidence presented in this book glaringly shows that many groups of people have missed the development bus that ensures better health and wellbeing arising from growth in GDP.
It is interesting to note that the Nobel laureate acknowledges that his recent research “focuses on the determinants of health in rich and poor countries, as well as on the measurement of poverty in India and around the world”.
The Nobel Committee has observed, “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.”
Thomas Piketty (44) is probably too young to be considered for the Nobel Prize !