“With the news this week that Angus Deaton of Princeton University had won the economics Nobel,” says Victor V. Claar in this week’s Acton Commentary, “the question of how best to help the poor in developing nations takes on a greater level of urgency.”
When it comes to understanding the specifics of global poverty, Deaton’s achievements are especially impressive. By pioneering household surveys in poor countries, he helped us gain a more accurate perspective on living standards and the particular consumption realities of the global poor. These data provided researchers with detailed micro-level data, so that economists working in economic development no longer needed to make broad and sweeping generalizations regarding the poor in a given nation based on less personal macro-level data. Indeed, Deaton helped us better understand the specific spending patterns of the poor, making it possible to see what economic life looks like through the eyes of a poor person trying be the best steward she can, given her currently limited resources.
The full text of the essay can be found here. Subscribe to the free, weekly Acton News & Commentary and other publications here. You can also find a discussion of this topic between Deaton and Russ Roberts on a recent episode of EconTalk.