"A large part of Nobel Laureate Angus Deaton's work is related to India."Examine his contribution to Indian economic policy making.

Angus Deaton is a British born economist. He earned his Ph.D. in economics from Cambridge University and later he moved to the USA. Mr. Deaton is known for his work on consumption theory, welfare, and inequality. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2015 for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare. A large part of his work is related to India.

Contribution to the Indian economy

He is best known for linking the aggregate data with the individual data. Deaton’s contribution to the Indian economy and policy-making mainly focused on two issues i.e. policy making for the poor and disadvantaged and the development of the status of nutrition and health; a strong intervention of the states for the alleviation of poverty.

  • He conducted research on price indices and used the National Sample Surveys for the determination of poverty that helped the policymaking process of the government.
  • His influence in the policymaking process was noticed in his pointing out of measurement inaccuracies.
  • He never borrowed any ideological support to conduct his operation and improved the data quality at an individual level.
  • He also wrote a paper named “Poverty and Inequality in India: A Re-Examination”.
  • Like the Amartya Sen school of thought, he also supported an effective contract between the people and the government.


His work has helped the governments to improve the economic policy through tools like understanding how different social groups are affected by specific changes in taxation. In his 2013 book titled “The Great Escape,” he expressed scepticism about the effectiveness of international aid. He noted that India and China have lifted tens of millions of people out of poverty despite receiving relatively little aid money. At the same time, many African countries have remained in the same deteriorated condition even after receiving adequate aid.

Question for UPSC Mains:
“A large part of Nobel Laureate Angus Deaton’s work is related to India.” Examine his contribution to Indian economic policy making.

Published: February 4, 2016 | Modified:September 23, 2020