India's Amartya Sen Wins Nobel Economics Prize

James Farmelant farmelantj at
Wed Oct 14 05:41:21 PDT 1998

Wednesday October 14 6:02 AM EDT India's Amartya Sen Wins Nobel Economics Prize

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - India's Amartya Sen won the 1998 Nobel economics prize for his contributions to welfare economics, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said Wednesday. Sen's work has contributed to the theory of social choice, definitions of welfare and poverty, and studies of famine, it said in its citation. Sen's work is linked by an interest in how resources are distributed in society, with a particular focus on the poorest members of society, the academy said. His work on famine, studying catastrophes in India, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Saharan countries found that shortage of food was not always the cause. ``By analyzing the available information about different individuals' welfare when collective decisions are made, he has improved the theoretical foundation for comparing different distributions of society's welfare and defined new, and more satisfactory, indexes of poverty,'' the academy said. ``In empirical studies, Sen's applications of his theoretical approach have enhanced our understanding of the economic mechanisms underlying famines.'' Sen, born in Bengal in 1933 and still an Indian citizen, left his professorships in economics and philosophy at Harvard University this year to become master of Trinity College, Cambridge. The prize, officially known as the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, is worth 7.6 million crowns ($960,000) this year.

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