Angus Deaton is only the sixth economist to not share the "Economics Nobel" (the "Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel") in the last 20 years (i.e. from 1996 onwards).

The Press Release reads:

Press Release

13 October 2015

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel for 2015 to

Angus Deaton, Princeton University, NJ, USA

"for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare".

Consumption, great and small

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.

The work for which Deaton is now being honored revolves around three central questions:

How do consumers distribute their spending among different goods? Answering this question is not only necessary for explaining and forecasting actual consumption patterns, but also crucial in evaluating how policy reforms, like changes in consumption taxes, affect the welfare of different groups. In his early work around 1980, Deaton developed the Almost Ideal Demand System – a flexible, yet simple, way of estimating how the demand for each good depends on the prices of all goods and on individual incomes. His approach and its later modifications are now standard tools, both in academia and in practical policy evaluation.

How much of society's income is spent and how much is saved? To explain capital formation and the magnitudes of business cycles, it is necessary to understand the interplay between income and consumption over time. In a few papers around 1990, Deaton showed that the prevailing consumption theory could not explain the actual relationships if the starting point was aggregate income and consumption. Instead, one should sum up how individuals adapt their own consumption to their individual income, which fluctuates in a very different way to aggregate income. This research clearly demonstrated why the analysis of individual data is key to untangling the patterns we see in aggregate data, an approach that has since become widely adopted in modern macroeconomics.

How do we best measure and analyze welfare and poverty? In his more recent research, Deaton highlights how reliable measures of individual household consumption levels can be used to discern mechanisms behind economic development. His research has uncovered important pitfalls when comparing the extent of poverty across time and place. It has also exemplified how the clever use of household data may shed light on such issues as the relationships between income and calorie intake, and the extent of gender discrimination within the family. Deaton's focus on household surveys has helped transform development economics from a theoretical field based on aggregate data to an empirical field based on detailed individual data.

His account in Google scholar provides the following "impact" data

\begin{array}{| r | r |} \hline \hline \text {Index name} & \text{All} & \text{Since 2010} \\ \hline \text {Citations} & 53,873 & 20,851 \\ \text{h-index} & 92 & 66 \\ \text{i10-index} & 184 & 143\\ \hline \end{array}

See for starters the wikipedia article, for the "h-index"

For the "i10-index" it reads:

The i10-index indicates the number of academic publications an author has written that have at least ten citations from others. It was introduced in July 2011 by Google as part of their work on Google Scholar.

My question?

Have you used A. Deaton's work in your studies or in your research? How?


Deaton's "Understanding Consumption" (1993) was one of the major sources I used when doing seminar work for my master's. In the end I decided to write my thesis about a different (somewhat related) subject after realising the empirical difficulties with what I planned on doing.

I have since chosen a different research subject, but Understanding Consumption is a book I have spent many hours with. It's a bit dated now, but still a decent read if you want to know about consumption and saving.


I am currently doing my graduate studies in Economics; and I came across the name of Deaton in Microeconomics class the very first time. In my opinion, his work became the integral part of modern mainstream microeconomics. I studied the Almost Ideal Demand System (AIDS), the model what was mentioned above. His work builds a bridge between microeconomics and econometrics enabling statistical estimations and forecasts of micro models. Using Roy's identity and AIDS makes it easy to determine the expenditure structure of the consumer.

These technique is broadly used by academics and public policy professionals. Beside them, there's a new trend called quantitative marketing. Nowadays marketing professionals use deep microeconomic background to design their product. A "heavy" micro course is a must for any modern business schools. AIDS became a standard tool for economic analysts, too.


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