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|October 14, 1998||
Sen's work is 'devoted to the welfare of the poorest people in society'
This is an excerpt from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences' citation today awarding the 1998 Nobel economics prize to Prof Amartya Sen of India, who teaches at Britain's Trinity College in Cambridge.
"Prof Sen's contribution to welfare economics ... (and) applications of his theoretical approach have enhanced our understanding of the economic mechanisms underlying famines. He has made a number of noteworthy contributions to central fields of economic science and opened up new fields of study for subsequent generations of researchers.
"By combining tools from economics and philosophy, he has restored an ethical dimension to the discussion of vital economic problems. Prof Sen treated problems such as majority rule, individual rights and the availability of information about individual welfare.
"Almost all of Prof Sen's work deals with development economics, as they are often devoted to the welfare of the poorest people in society. He has also studied actual famines. His best-known work is Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation.
''He challenges the common view that a shortage of food is the most important (sometimes the only) explanation for famine.
"On the basis of careful study of a number of catastrophes ... he argues that famines have occurred even when the supply of food was not significantly lower than during previous years (without famines), or that famine-stricken areas have sometimes exported food."
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