Born: 3 November 1933, Santiniketan, India
Affiliation at the time of the award: Trinity College, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Prize motivation: "for his contributions to welfare economics"
Field: welfare economics
Contribution: Research on fundamental problems in welfare economics. Studies of social choice, welfare measurement, and poverty.
Prize share: 1/1
Amartya Sen was born into a Brahman family in Santiniketan, Bengal, in India. His father was a professor of chemistry in Dhaka (now part of Bangladesh), where Amartya also received his first education. After university studies in Kolkata, India and at Cambridge, UK, where he received his PhD in 1959, he has held professorships in India and at Oxford and Cambridge universities, as well as in the US, including at Harvard University. Amartya Sen is married to Emma Rothschild and has four children from two previous marriages.
Which are the most important and fundamental resources in a community and how should we divide them? One focus of Amartya Sen's research is how individuals' values can be considered in collective decision-making and how welfare and poverty can be measured. His efforts stem from his interest in questions of distribution and, in particular, the lot of society's poorest members. Amartya Sen's studies have included famines, to create a deeper understanding of the economic reasons behind famine and poverty