Angus Deaton, has won the Nobel prize in economics for his work charting global developments in health, wellbeing and inequality. He is perhaps best known for the Deaton Paradox – that sharp shocks to income do not appear to cause equally large shocks to consumption.
In his most recent book, The Great Escape: Health, Wealth and the Origins of Inequality, Deaton argues that analysis of economic data shows that while most people in the world have gained in terms of health and wellbeing from higher national incomes, there are many groups that have missed out. See video interview below from the FT.
In the interview he discusses a number of charts including “Life Expectancy and GDP in 1960 and 2010” which shows the significant increase in Inequality in 2010. Another shows the “height of women against national income” – it stresses the importance of health care in the early years. One of Deaton’s main themes is that economic growth does not necessarily produce improved quality of life, especially when income is distributed very unequally – as is the case in today’s United States. So for example, in spite of lower economic growth in France than in the United States, because of a less unequal distribution of income, “all but the top 1 percent of the French population did better than all but the top 1 percent of the American population”.