Princeton professor of economics Angus Deaton is awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics “for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare.”
The University Press Club will be providing live updates from this afternoon’s press conference.
6:30am – Angus Deaton receives a phone call from the Nobel Committee
1:30pm – A filled Richardson Auditorium gives a standing ovation to Angus Deaton as he arrives on stage.
There is heavy media presence.
1:32pm: President Eisgruber’s introduces Angus Deaton
“Angus is a leader not only in his field but on this campus.”
“His book, ‘The Great Escape,’ is now selling rapidly at all bookstores.”
1:36pm: Dean Cecilia Rouse’s remarks
“You do this school so proud.”
1:38pm: Professor of economics Janet Currie’s remarks
“No one could spend time with Angus without seeing his passion for measurement.”
What would she expect of Angus as a dinner party companion? “He’s enormously funny, witty, well-read, frighteningly erudite and incredibly good company.”
1:42pm: Angus Deaton, takes the stage
“People keep congratulating me today, and I keep thinking, for what?”
He thanks Princeton for what it’s done for him, for providing him a place to work, for his colleagues, for a place to work without having to worry about “all the extraneous things that go on in universities.”
“This is the 3rd Nobel Prize that has come to the WWS, which is probably 3 more than anywhere else.”
He lists the many people who have come through the Woodrow Wilson School and met the highest standards of academic excellence. “This is like a Nobel Prize to the Woodrow Wilson School, and I think that is a truly wonderful thing.”
“I feel passionately about measurement, about how difficult it is, how much theory and conceptualizing is involved, how much politics is involved.”
He praises the “breadth with which social sciences has been coming together in recent years.” Economics is taking over a lot of fields such as sociology and politics, and “I would like to be known for that.”
1:49pm: Questions from the press and the floor
Q: “Take us through the phone call – emotions that you had, how the call happened? …And what are your plans for the prize itself?”
A: This morning, he picked up the phone at 6:10am. “There was a very Swedish voice” on the other end of the line, Deaton said. The Swedish caller “was very keen to make sure that I knew this was not a prank.” But as soon as this happened, he thought, “Oh my god, maybe this is a prank.” The entire auditorium breaks out in laughter. “I’m still trying to figure out whether I made the whole thing up.”
Q: A question from Andy Loo ’16: “May I ask what are you future plans?”
A: “I would like to keep on being most excited about the things I’m working on.”
Q: A question from Krishan Kania ’17 on the relationship between economic development and access to healthcare.
A: Deaton says he is not a fan of direct causation between health and wealth. There are many other factors involved, such as government capacity.
Universal health care insurance is not the way to go, Deaton says.
He acknowledges the complexity and difficulty of health care, and that the U.S. should be careful not to preach to others how to do healthcare.
Q: How has his background affected how he thinks about poverty and privilege?
A: Deaton emphasizes “how much importance luck is in people’s life.”
Most people in his family thought he should be in the field, Deaton said, and not reading a book at home. It was “a stroke of luck” that his father encouraged him to study.
“It’s just the luck of the draw.”
2:15pm: The press conference closes. There will be a reception at 2:30pm in the Rocky Common Room.
2:30pm: As per Princeton tradition, there is a fancy set-up for the reception – champagne included.
2:45pm: Angus Deaton at the Rocky Common Room
“I really want to say I’m speechless, but I’ve done nothing but talk since about 7 o’clock this morning.”