閻紀宇 2015年10月12日 19:06
2015年諾貝爾獎最後一個獎項「瑞典中央銀行紀念阿爾弗雷德．諾貝爾經濟學獎（Sveriges riksbanks pris i ekonomisk vetenskap till Alfred Nobels minne）12日頒發，由英國經濟學家迪頓（Angus Deaton）膺此殊榮，獨得800萬瑞典克朗（SEK，約新台幣3120萬元）獎金，得獎理由是「他對於消費、貧窮與福利的分析」（for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare）。
迪頓生於1945年10月19日，一星期之後就要歡度70歲大壽，如今收到一份至高無上的生日禮物。迪頓是蘇格蘭首府愛丁堡（Edinburgh）人，英國劍橋大學（University of Cambridge）博士，同時擁有英國與美國國籍，目前是美國普林斯頓大學（Princeton University）經濟學與國際事務教授（Professor of Economics and International Affairs）。
瑞典皇家科學院（Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien）指出，經濟政策的設計目的在於提升福利、減少貧窮，因此我們首先必須瞭解個人的消費選擇，迪頓在這方面貢獻卓著。他的研究詳盡探討了個人選擇與累積效應，在個體經濟學、總體經濟學、發展經濟學（development economics）等領域影響深遠。
解答這個問題，不僅是解釋和預測實際消費模式的先決條件，對於評估政策改革（例如消費稅）如何影響不同群體的福利也至關重要。迪頓在1980年前後的早期研究中，發展出「近似理想需求體系」（Almost Ideal Demand System，AIDS），一種彈性而且簡單的評估方法，可以看出全體商品的價格與個人的收入如何決定個別商品的需求。這套方法與其後續演進，已經是學術研究與實際政策的標準工具。
Angus Deaton is the 2015 winner of the Nobel prize in economics. The Scottish-born economist is best known for his work on health, wellbeing, and economic development.
The Nobel Committee said: “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.”
His book, The Great Escape: Health, Wealth and the Origins of Inequality, argues that a more sophisticated analysis of economic data shows that while most people in the world have gained in terms of health and wellbeing from GDP growth, there are many groups that have missed out.
This global view is reflected in his latest research, which he says “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”.
Measuring poverty is often based on snapshot surveys of income levels, but Deaton is lauded for adopting groups or cohorts of the population and examining the improvements, or not, in their wellbeing.
Deaton, 69, was born in Edinburgh and educated at the same private school as former prime minister Tony Blair, Fettes College. He went to Cambridge where he later taught, before moving to the US and taking dual citizenship.
He is currently the Dwight D Eisenhower professor of economics and international affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton.
He beat Sir Richard Blundell, the Ricardo professor of political economy at University College London, who was considered the frontrunner after being cited in more academic papers over the last year for his work on falling wages and consumer demand than any other economist.
The economics prize, worth 8m Swedish krona (£630,000) to the winner, was created by the Swedish central bank in Alfred Nobel’s memory in 1968. The other five awards were established by Nobel in his will in 1895.