Amartya Sen


Amartya Sen

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Amartya Sen
The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 1998

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”

Prize share: 1/1


Amartya Sen was born into a Baidya family in Santiniketan, Bengal, in India. His father was a professor of chemistry in Dhaka (now part of Bangladesh), where Sen also received his first education. After university studies in Kolkata, India and at Cambridge, UK, where Sen 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. 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. Sen's studies have included famines, to create a deeper understanding of the economic reasons behind famine and poverty.

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