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Princeton professor wins Nobel measuring poverty in India

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Washington: Nobel Prize winner Angus Deaton’s current research focuses on the determinants of health in rich and poor countries as well as on the measurement of poverty in India and around the world.

The British-born Princeton University professor has been awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in economics for his contributions to understanding consumption at the individual level and in aggregate. Deaton, who also maintains a longstanding interest in the analysis of household surveys, noted that his focus on individuals and their decisions is important both from an academic and ethical standpoint, according to a report on the university website.

“In the end, it’s individual peoples’ well-being that counts,” he was quoted as saying. “When you’re counting the poverty rate in India or the mortality rate in the United States, all of those things you’re looking at are aggregates.”

“But it’s one death at a time. It’s one person at a time who’s in poverty,” Deaton said. “It’s their lives that are being led. In the end, I don’t think you’re ever going to want to get away from the individual.”

Deaton’s latest book, ‘The Great Escape: Health, Wealth and the Origins of Inequality’ (Princeton University Press), explores the story of how, beginning 250 years ago, some parts of the world sustained progress, opening up gaps and setting the state for today’s unequal world.

He’s also widely known for publications on the relationship between income and happiness, with Kahneman.

In announcing Deaton’s prize, the Nobel committee also specifically noted Deaton’s 1980 paper, with John Muellbauer, ‘An Almost Ideal Demand System’, which details a way to provide a reliable picture of demand patterns in society.

At a news conference in Princeton Monday afternoon, Deaton noted the tremendous progress that has been made in conditions around the world.

“I’ve spent a lot of time arguing the world is getting to be a much better place,” Deaton said.

“Over the past 200 years, the world has been transformed from something close to destitution to where many, many of us have much richer lives in which our talents and capabilities can be more fully expressed. I do tend to emphasise there’s more to be done.”

Deaton, a native of the United Kingdom, earned his bachelor’s degree and PhD from Cambridge University. He taught at Cambridge and the University of Bristol before joining the faculty at Princeton in 1983.

(IANS)

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Child Rights Summit: Nations Should Spend More on Education Over Weapons

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Displaced Syrian children look out from their tents at Kelbit refugee camp, near the Syrian-Turkish border, in Idlib province, Syria, Jan. 17, 2018. VOA

Countries should spend more on schooling and less on weapons to ensure that children affected by war get an education, a child rights summit heard Monday.

The gathering in Jordan was told that a common thread of war was its devastating impact in keeping children out of school.

Indian Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi, who founded the summit, said ensuring all children around the world received a primary and secondary education would cost another $40 billion annually — about a week’s worth of global military expenditure.

ALSO READ: Politics and Education: A Relationship that contributes a lot in shaping our Future

child rights summit
Nobel Peace Prize laureates Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai listen to speeches during the Nobel Peace Prize awards ceremony at the City Hall in Oslo, Dec. 10, 2014. VOA

“We have to choose whether we have to produce guns and bullets, or we have to produce books and pencils to our children,” he told the second Laureates and Leaders for Children Summit that gathers world leaders and Nobel laureates.

Global military expenditure reached almost $1.7 trillion in 2016, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The United Nations children’s agency UNICEF said last year 27 million children were out of school in conflict zones.

ALSO READ: Exclusive: How is One Woman Army changing the notions of Education in society?

“We want safe schools, we want safe homes, we want safe countries, we want a safe world,” said Satyarthi, who shared the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai for his work with children.

Jordan’s Prince Ali bin al-Hussein told the summit, which focused on child refugees and migrants affected by war and natural disasters, that education was “key,” especially for “children on the move.”

“Education can be expensive, but never remotely as close to what is being spent on weapons. … They [children] are today’s hope for a better future,” he told the two-day summit.

Kerry Kennedy, president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, a nonprofit group, described the number of Syrian refugees not in school in the Middle East as “shocking” as the war enters its eighth year.

Kennedy cited a report being released Tuesday by the KidsRights Foundation, an international children’s rights group, which found 40 percent of school-aged Syrian children living in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq cannot access education. VOA

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