A humane Nobel economist: Angus Deaton shows us how to be healthy, wealthy and wise

Peter Boettke in Politico:

ScreenHunter_1423 Oct. 14 18.45Princeton University Professor Angus Deaton has won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, and it is a very worthy award. The 69-year-old Scottish-born economist has contributed to our understanding at a theoretical, empirical, and policy-relevant level throughout his very productive career. And he continues to challenge his fellow economists methodologically, analytically, and practically with new works. In many ways, this was a very inspiring choice.

Let me explain. Deaton’s first main idea was the basic one that people don’t eat growth rates: We learn a lot more from studying consumption behavior than we would from focusing our attention on aggregate income measures. It is a decidedly microeconomic approach to empirical analysis, and in so doing he innovated ways to conduct household surveys. And this way of measuring human well-being opened eyes to the plight of the world’s poor, and the economic improvements in global development. In many ways, Deaton’s work provides the scientific underpinnings of Hans Rosling’s BBC Four video, The Joy of Stats, on 200 countries, 200 Years or his TED Talk on the washing machine.

Deaton’s work made us see the impact innovation and development has had on the well-being of the world’s poor. In this sense, his receiving the Nobel is also a nod by the committee to economic history and the fundamental importance of development economics as a field as much as to the theoretical and empirical thrust of Deaton’s work on consumption behavior.

More here.