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Former Bristol Economics professor wins Nobel Prize

15 October 2015

Professor Angus Deaton of Princeton University has been awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Economics.

Angus Deaton was Professor of Econometrics at Bristol from 1976 to 83. During this time, he did much of his influential work. In 1978, he became the first ever recipient of the Frisch Medal, an award given by the Econometric Society every two years. In 1980, his paper on how demand for various consumption goods depends on prices and income was published in the American Economic Review. This paper has since been hailed as one of the twenty most influential articles published in the journal since 1970.

The Nobel Prize award recognises his work on consumption, poverty and welfare. Deaton’s research is concerned with fundamental questions about well-being. In his early work, he became well known for innovative approaches to modelling consumption choices. His work on consumer demand helped to explain how consumers are affected by policy choices, such as tax changes. Later, he pioneered the use of consumption, rather than income, as a way to measure household living standards. He made extensive use of household survey data to develop insights into well-being, tracking date-of-birth cohorts to understand the dynamics of behaviour over the life-cycle and the prospects for economic progress. 

During his time in Bristol, Deaton was among a small group of researchers who paved the way for a revolution in empirical work in micro-economics. They focused on analysis of individual-level data, in recognition of the importance of variation in individual preferences and conditions. This was of tremendous importance in understanding the design and effectiveness of economic policy. This type of empirical policy-relevant micro-economic work has remained a key part of the research at the Bristol Economics Department to this day.

The award brings to 12 the number of Nobel prize winners associated with the University of Bristol.

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