Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences 1998
Thomas W. Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosopohy, Harvard University, USA
Co-reason for the prize:
for his contributions to welfare economics
Professor Sen, a citizen of India, is considered the world’s top expert in welfare economics and a leading global voice for the alleviation of poverty and inequality. At present he is Chair Adviser of the “Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress” (Commission Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi).
Professor Sen has taught Economics at Jadavpur University in Calcutta, at the Delhi School of Economics, at the University of Cambridge and at the London School of Economics. He was appointed Professor of Economics at Oxford University in 1977 and Drummond Professor of Political Economy at Oxford in 1980. Sen became Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard in 1987 and was appointed Lamont University Professor shortly thereafter. Since 1998, Sen has also held adjunct and visiting appointments at Harvard based in the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies and in the FAS.
Sen served as President of the Econometric Society in 1984, of the International Economic Association from 1986 to 1989, of the Indian Economic Association in 1989, and of the American Economic Association in 1994. In 1998 he left his professorships in Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University to become Master of Trinity College, the largest and most famous college in the University of Cambridge, nominated by the Prime Minister and appointed by the British Monarch. In 2003 he returned to Harvard which honored Sen making him the Lamont University Professor.
He has been a Fellow of the British Academy since 1977 and of the Econometric Society. He is also a foreign honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Philosophical Association. During his career he has received more than 60 honorary degrees and been awarded many prizes, including, in 1998, the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences shortly after moving from Harvard to Trinity. The Royal Swedish Academy specifically mentioned the excellence of his work in welfare economics and social choice theory.
Sen’s books have been translated into all of the major languages of the world. In addition to economic and social choice theory, Sen has contributed to political, moral, and legal philosophy; the causation and prevention of famines, inequalities related to class and gender; development economics; axiomatic choice theory; decision theory.
Over his career Professor Sen has already been recognized about 100 honorary degrees by the most important universities all over the world.