Angus Deaton

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Sir Angus Deaton
Angus Deaton 5289-2015.jpg
Deaton in 2015
Angus Stewart Deaton

(1945-10-19) 19 October 1945 (age 78)
Edinburgh, Scotland
NationalityBritish, American
Alma mater Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge
Spouse Anne Case
Scientific career
Fields Microeconomics
Thesis Models of Consumer Demand and Their Application to the United Kingdom (1975)
Doctoral advisor Richard Stone
Academic career
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Sir Angus Stewart Deaton FBA [1] (born 19 October 1945) is a British-American economist and academic. Deaton is currently a Senior Scholar and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs Emeritus at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and the Economics Department at Princeton University. His research focuses primarily on poverty, inequality, health, wellbeing, and economic development. [2]


In 2015, he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare. [3] [4]


Angus Deaton presenting himself, December 2015

Deaton was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He attended Hawick High School [5] and then Fettes College as a foundation scholar, working at Portmeirion hotel in summer 1964. He earned his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Cambridge, the last with a 1975 thesis entitled Models of Consumer Demand and Their Application to the United Kingdom under the supervision of Richard Stone . At Cambridge, he was later a fellow at Fitzwilliam College and a research officer working with Richard Stone and Terry Barker in the Department of Applied Economics. [6]

In 1976 Deaton took up a post at the University of Bristol as Professor of Econometrics. During this period, he completed a significant portion of his most influential work. In 1978, he became the first ever recipient of the Frisch Medal, an award given by the Econometric Society every two years to an applied paper published within the past five years in Econometrica . In 1980, his paper [7] 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 in its first hundred years. [8]

In 1983, he left the University of Bristol for Princeton University. He is currently the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of International Affairs and Professor of Economics and International Affairs at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and the Department of Economics at Princeton. [9] Since 2017, he holds a joint appointment with the University of Southern California where he is the Presidential Professor of Economics. [10] He holds both British and American citizenship. [11]

In 2015, Deaton won that year's Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Deaton was "delighted" and described himself as "someone who's concerned with the poor of the world and how people behave, and what gives them a good life." The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said that economic policy intended to reduce poverty could only be designed once individuals' consumption choices were understood, saying, "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". [12] Deaton is also the author of "Letters from America", a popular semi-annual feature in the Royal Economic Society Newsletter. [13]

In 2024, Deaton recanted a large part of the economics he previously supported, [14] concluding that the economists' mistakes showed how "Economists could benefit by greater engagement with the ideas of philosophers, historians, and sociologists, just as Adam Smith once did". [15]


Almost Ideal Demand System

Deaton's first work to become known was Almost Ideal Demand System (AIDS), which he developed with John Muellbauer and published in The American Economic Review (AER) in 1980. [16] As a consumer demand model, it provides a first-order approximation to any demand system that satisfies the axioms of order, aggregates over consumers without invoking parallel linear Engel curves, is consistent with budget constraints, and is simple to estimate.

According to a review by the American Economic Review, the paper "introduces a practical system of demand equations that are consistent with preference maximization and have sufficient flexibility to support full welfare analysis of policies that have an impact on consumers." [17] The paper was listed as one of the top 20 published works in the AER in the first 100 years of the journal. [17]

Morbidity and Mortality in the 21st Century

In 2015, Anne Case and Angus Deaton published the paper "Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century" in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In the article, Case and Deaton highlight the rising all-cause mortality rate among middle-aged white non-Hispanic Americans in the past decade, a recent trend that was unique among "rich" countries. [18] Case and Deaton found that the rising mortality rates were only occurring for white non-Hispanics and that less-educated white non-Hispanics were at the greatest risk. Further, they discovered that the increasing mortality rates among white non-Hispanics could be classified as "deaths of despair", most notably drug and alcohol poisonings, suicide, and chronic liver diseases and cirrhosis." [18] Finally, they noted that rising mortality rates were accompanied by rising morbidity rates, particularly "[s]elf-reported declines in health, mental health, and ability to conduct activities of daily living, and increases in chronic pain and inability to work". [18] To explain their findings, Case and Deaton point to the rising availability and abuse of opioids:

The increased availability of opioid prescriptions for pain that began in the late 1990s has been widely noted, as has the associated mortality. The CDC estimates that for each prescription painkiller death in 2008, there were 10 treatment admissions for abuse, 32 emergency department visits for misuse or abuse, 130 people who were abusers or dependent, and 825 nonmedical users  ... [A]ddictions are hard to treat and pain is hard to control, so those currently in midlife may be a "lost generation" whose future is less bright than those who preceded them. [18]

As a follow-up to their previous work, Case and Deaton received funding from the National Institute on Aging through the National Bureau of Economic Research to release a larger study that was published in 2017 entitled Mortality and Morbidity in the 21st Century. [19] [20] [21] In extending their research, they found that the mortality rates for educated white non-Hispanics have begun to decrease again, although the rates for uneducated white non-Hispanics have continued to climb; at the same time, rates for Hispanics and blacks continued to decrease, regardless of educational attainment. Additionally, they found that contemporaneous resources had no effect on mortality rates and that, instead, worsening labor market opportunities for uneducated white non-Hispanics have pushed forward several cumulative disadvantages for middle-aged people, such as worsened marriage and child outcomes, and overall health. [19]

As a result of this research, Case has opined that physical and mental distress may bolster candidates like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. [22] [23] Likewise, the Washington Post and a Gallup Poll showed strong correlation between support for Trump and higher death rates. [22] [24] [25]

Recognition and awards

Deaton is a Fellow of the Econometric Society, the British Academy (FBA), [30] and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He holds honorary degrees from the University of Rome, Tor Vergata; University College London; the University of St. Andrews; and the University of Edinburgh. [31]

Personal life

Previously widowed, Deaton has two children, born in 1970 and 1971. [32] He is married to Anne Case, the Alexander Stewart 1886 Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University's Princeton School of Public and International Affairs. The couple enjoy the opera and trout fishing. [9] He has declined to comment on whether he supports independence for his native Scotland but said that he has a “strong personal and historical attachment to the Union". [33]


Selected journal articles

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  1. Instruments of Development - website British Academy
  2. "Bio". Professor Sir Angus Deaton. Princeton University. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  3. 1 2 "The Prize in Economic Sciences 2015".
  4. 1 2 Wearden, Graeme (12 October 2015). "Nobel prize in economics won by Angus Deaton – live". The Guardian. (updated 25 May 2017). Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  5. "Angus Deaton - Biographical". Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  6. "Cambridge alumnus awarded Nobel economics prize". University of Cambridge. 12 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  7. 1 2 Deaton, Angus; Muellbauer, John (1980). "An Almost Ideal Demand System". The American Economic Review. 70 (3): 312–326. ISSN   0002-8282. JSTOR   1805222.
  8. Arrow, Kenneth J.; Bernheim, B. Douglas; Feldstein, Martin S.; McFadden, Daniel L.; Poterba, James M.; Solow, Robert M. (2011). "100 Years of the American Economic Review: The Top 20 Articles". American Economic Review. 101: 1–8. doi: 10.1257/aer.101.1.1 .
  9. 1 2 "NBER Profile: Angus Deaton". National Bureau of Economic Research . Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  10. "Nobel Laureate Sir Angus Deaton Named a Presidential Professor" . Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  11. Rising, Malin (12 October 2015). "Scottish economist Angus Deaton wins Nobel economics prize". Yahoo! News. Associated Press. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  12. "British academic awarded Nobel economics prize". BBC News Online. 12 October 2015. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  13. "Letters from America".
  14. Jakob Kapeller (1 April 2024). "Heterodox Economics Newsletter: Issue 325".
  15. Angus Deaton. "Rethinking Economics or Rethinking My Economics". IMF. Retrieved 1 April 2024.
  16. Deaton, A; Muellbauer, J. (1980). "An Almost Ideal Demand System". American Economic Review. 70 (3): 312–326. JSTOR   1805222.
  17. 1 2 Arrow, Kenneth J; Bernheim, B. Douglas; Feldstein, Martin S; McFadden, Daniel L; Poterba, James M; Solow, Robert M (2011). "100 Years of theAmerican Economic Review: The Top 20 Articles". American Economic Review. 101 (1): 1–8. doi: 10.1257/aer.101.1.1 .
  18. 1 2 3 4 Case, Anne; Deaton, Angus (8 December 2015). "Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century" (PDF). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 112 (49): 15078–15083. Bibcode:2015PNAS..11215078C. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1518393112 . PMC   4679063 . PMID   26575631.
  19. 1 2 Case, Anne; Deaton, Angus (Spring 2017). "Mortality and Morbidity in the 21st Century" (PDF). Brookings Papers on Economic Activity. 2017: 397–476. doi:10.1353/eca.2017.0005. PMC   5640267 . PMID   29033460.
  20. Case, Anne; Deaton, Sir Angus (23 March 2017). "Mortality and morbidity in the 21st century". Brookings. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  21. Body, Jessica (23 March 2017). "The Forces Driving Middle-Aged White People's 'Deaths Of Despair'". Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  22. 1 2 3 "The POLITICO 50 - 2016". POLITICO Magazine. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  23. Case, Anne (30 December 2015). ""Deaths of despair" are killing America's white working class". Quartz. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  24. Guo, Jeff (4 March 2016). "Death predicts whether people vote for Donald Trump". Washington Post. ISSN   0190-8286 . Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  25. Rothwell, Jonathan; Diego-Rosell, Pablo (2 November 2016). "Explaining Nationalist Political Views: The Case of Donald Trump". Rochester, NY. SSRN   2822059.
  26. Alonso, M. E. (21 February 2012). "Angus Deaton y su teoría del consumo, premio BBVA". ABC (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  27. "Newly Elected - April 2014". American Philosophical Society. Archived from the original on 6 September 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  28. "News from the National Academy of Sciences". National Academy of Sciences. 28 April 2015. Archived from the original on 26 March 2016. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  29. "No. 61608". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 2016. p. B2.
  30. British Academy Fellows: DEATON, Professor Angus Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine - website of the British Academy
  31. "Honorary graduates". Annual Review 2010/11. The University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  32. Deaton, Angus (November 2014). "Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). Princeton University . Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 October 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  33. "Sir Angus Deaton: 'A lot of people feel they're not in control of their lives anymore'". 22 April 2022.
  34. Deaton, Angus (1 December 1989). "Saving and Liquidity Constraints". Working Paper Series. doi: 10.3386/w3196 .{{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  35. Deaton, Angus (1 March 2003). "Health, Inequality, and Economic Development". Journal of Economic Literature. 41 (1): 113–158. doi:10.1257/002205103321544710. ISSN   0022-0515. S2CID   15490945.
Academic offices
Preceded by President of the American Economic Association
2009– 2010
Succeeded by
Preceded by Laureate of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics
Succeeded by